IT was the spectacular night Edinburgh came out in force to celebrate, those whose dedication to making their communities a better place to live has gone unnoticed for too long.
Hundreds gathered from across the Lothians as some of our most worthy residents were honoured at the Edinburgh Evening News Local Hero Awards.
The glittering ceremony, sponsored by Farmer Autocare, shone a light on those in the city who have flown under the radar while improving the lives of others.
And it was a night to remember for Lisa Fleming as she marked an emotional journey since being diagnosed with incurable secondary breast cancer in 2017 by winning the overall Local Hero award following her inspiring decision to found a charity aimed at funding research into the condition.
Lisa, 35, established the Make 2nds Count organisation in 2018 and has already seen the charity raise more than £175,000 to be donated to a team at the Western General Hospital who work to find a cure for the disease – all while undergoing constant chemotherapy and hormone treatment.
In his opening address, Euan McGrory, editor of the Evening News welcomed guests to a “very special evening,” before handing over to host and Forth One presenter Arlene Stuart.
The 2019 ceremony featured two new awards among 14 handed out on the night and the evening kicked off with great excitement after a three-way tie was revealed in the running for our first prize.
The Junior Local Hero award – sponsored by Farmer Autocare – was split between inspirational youngsters Alix Renwick, Rae Blair and Reese Black, with judges unable to separate their tremendous efforts.
Siblings Amy and Jordan Pollock were honoured with the Bravery Award, sponsored by Capital Cars and Susan Wilson, 43, captured the Carer of the Year award for her tireless work in caring for son Riley, who was born with Down Syndrome.
Meanwhile, Linda Bain was hailed for her work in ensuring youngsters with reduced mobility can be confident and independent with the Teacher of the Year award, sponsored by Forth One and Maria Barnett picked up Volunteer of the Year, sponsored by City Cabs.
June Horne was celebrated for opening the Sweet Dignity community recycling facility in Midlothian with the Community Champion award, sponsored by Lothian, while there was a special commendation for Grassroots founder Archie Lowe after he received nominations in the Community Champion and Volunteer of the Year categories.
Long-distance athlete Steve Waterston, 46, scooped the Sporting Hero prize after complete the Loch Ness marathon just eight months after recovering from a life-threatening illness – despite running with a cane since experiencing sight loss in 2003.
Health Champions Sandra Bagnall and Catriona Scott picked up the award, sponsored by House of Hearing, after they inspired pupils and teachers at Broughton Primary by leading the Edinburgh Marathon programme at the school.
Keith Armour was named Fundraiser of the Year, sponsored by Install Solar, after organising a series of charity sci-fi conventions to benefit Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (Chas).
Campaigner Heather Nicol, 17, captured Inspirational Young Adult, sponsored by Amazon, after enacting change on a national level through her drive for the groundbreaking “Heather’s Law”.
Kirsty Baird became the first winner of the Music and Arts Award after overseeing the growth of the Sing in the City project to 16 choirs across the Capital.
Lesley and Elaine Greer proved community spirit was alive and well as they scooped the Neighbour of the Year prize, sponsored by Sidey, after being described as “an amazing support” by other local residents, while devoted foster parents Jimmy and Linda Bevis were awarded Parents or Guardians of the Year, sponsored by Cala Homes, after giving a home to more than 140 children in the Capital over a 35-year period.
WINNERS AT A GLANCE
Sporting Hero Award
Amy and Jordan Pollock
Teacher of the Year
Sandra Bagnall and Catriona Scott
Carer of the Year
Parent or Guardian
Jimmy and Linda Bevis
Volunteer of the Year
Neighbour of the Year
Elaine and Lesley Greer
Inspirational Young Adult
Fundraiser of the Year
music and arts Award
junior Local Hero Award
Alix Renwick, Rae Blair
and Reese Black
The Edinburgh Local Hero