Wait almost over to find winners of Sick Kids awards

Joy Kennedy. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Joy Kennedy. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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THOUSANDS of votes have been cast to honour the brave patients, selfless staff and dedicated fundraisers at one of Edinburgh’s most loved ­institutions.

The wait is nearly over to find out exactly who are the Sick Kids Heroes at our famous Capital hospital.

The awards were launched in March to recognise and celebrate the people that make the Sick Kids Hospital such a special place.

Since then, inspirational tales of bravery and heroism have flooded in, with the public voting in their droves ahead of the glitzy awards ceremony next week.

There have been patients who defied their illness to make remarkable recoveries, youngsters who have given up birthday presents in the name of fundraising and staff who have gone far above and beyond the call of duty, who have all been put forward.

Brave youngsters Aine McDermott, Anna Pentony, Joy Kennedy, Lauren Bremner, Noah Duncan and Chantelle Cummings all made the shortlist for the patient category with their moving stories. Each nominee is clearly a champion, but with the public vote now closed, the winners for the two most inspirational patients, the member of staff who has made the “ultimate difference,” a successful young fundraiser and an “amazing” volunteer fundraiser, have all been decided.

A panel, which includes Taggart and Holby City actress Siobhan Redmond and a representative from the young people’s advisory group at the hospital – as well as Evening News editor Frank O’Donnell – will select winners in categories to recognise companies that have exceeded fundraising expectations, a team that “goes the extra mile” and a hospital volunteer.

The awards ceremony, which follows a lunch event, will be held at the Caledonian Hotel next Friday. Maureen Harrison, chief executive of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation which organised the awards, said she was thrilled by the public response, with more than 3150 votes being cast.

She said: “We’re delighted at the volume of votes we have received for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation Heroes Awards.

“Our worthy nominations have stemmed across all of our categories encompassing patients, hospital staff, fundraising and hospital volunteers and companies that have supported us continuously throughout our 20 years.”

The Sick Kids Friends Foundation, which provides medical equipment, funds improvements to facilities and pays for specialist training programmes that the NHS could not buy on its own, is itself celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Maureen said much of the work it did would not be possible without the generous support of the public, including the people being honoured here.

The group launched the appeal, with the full backing of the Evening News, as the Sick Kids enters its final years at Sciennes. A new facility, which will join on to the Royal Infirmary at Little France, is due to open its doors in 2017.