Stonehaven salutes its local champions

Catriona Aitken and Calum Smith have both won the Hannah Dyson award this year
Catriona Aitken and Calum Smith have both won the Hannah Dyson award this year

Stonehaven and District Community Council have announced the Community and Hannah Dyson Award winners for 2015.

The Stonehaven Community Award goes to local resident Ruby Buchanan.

Ruby Buchanan

Ruby Buchanan

The Hannah Dyson Award for under-18s has gone to Mackie Academy pupils Catriona Aitken and Calum Smith. With nothing to choose between the two pupils, SDCC decided that both were very worthy winners .

Members of the public are asked to nominate outstanding members of the community over the age of 18 for the adult award, run in tandem with the Stonehaven Business Association and the local churches.

Introduced four years ago, it aims to highlight the valuable work carried out by adults in the community based on their excellence, merit or outstanding achievement.

Ruby has been involved in numerous community projects, including Stonehaven Town Partnership land train, Open Air in the Square and the Floral Art Committee on which she has sat numerous times and is the current chair.

She said: “I am humbled to receive this. There are so many dedicated and wonderful people who deserve this as well.

‘‘I absolutely love people and love Stonehaven - it is such a worth while place.”

Last year’s winner, Michelle Ward, was nominated by Ruby.

This year, she herself was nominated by plenty in the community.

Asked what her highlights of the last year had been, Ruby said: “I got a real kick out of the land train and being involved with that.

‘‘I wasn’t one of them that brought it here but getting involved was brilliant, sometimes at the very last minute before the train was away to set off.

“I also loved when Emily Middlemas came to Stonehaven as well. It’s great the people you meet through this town.

For the Hannah Dyson Awards, the SDCC were unable to pick a clear winner and decided to give it jointly to Mackie Academy pupils Catriona Aitken and Calum Smith.

Both were nominated through the school, having achieved some great academic success and been involved heavily in the community over the past year.

Catriona is captain for Fetteresso House and also actively involved in the musical scene at Mackie Academy.

She plays the violin and is involved in the concert band with percussion.

However, it is her involvement in volunteering and fundraising which is particularly impressive.

She volunteers at her local Brownies and last year was presented with her Bronze Youth Achievement Award by the CLD team.

In addition, having an allergy to peanuts, she set up her own fundraising campaign this year for the Anaphylaxis Campaign.

The 18-year-old has raised over £300 so far, mainly through a sponsored swim.

She swam the equivalent of the English Channel in her local pool over six days.

Catriona, who is aiming to raise more in 2015 by utilising her musical skills, said: “I found out slighly later, as I just been away on a trip, and it is very nice to be noticed for the work I’ve been doing.

‘‘I feel quite humble that people have seen the work I’ve done, especially for the Anaphylaxis Campaign. Being a sufferer, I know how it effects people and it is nice to be recognised for trying to raise as much awareness as possible.”

Calum achieved A Grades in eight of his National 5 qualifications in 2014.

He has continued his studies into Highers and hopes to study maths and physics at Oxford University.

The 16-year-old was also heavily involved in the Youth Philanthropy Initiative. While Calum’s team did not win, they continued to fundraise for their chosen charity.

He is also young carer for his mother who is suffering the effects of a long term illness.

Calum said: “It was two weeks ago that I found out.

‘‘My parents took the phonecall and they did the classic parent thing of telling me they had ‘some bad news’ and it turned out that I won the award.

‘‘I’m quite proud of myself and it’s good to be recognised for the work I’ve done in the community.”

Alistair Lawie, secretary of SDCC, said: “It is always a delight to be able to give out these awards. Every nominee was a worthy one this year and with the Hannah Dyson Award it was impossible to differentiate between the two and so in the end we had to give it to both of them.

“It is always wonderful to celebrate youngsters’ achievements considering some of the bad press they receive.”