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Volunteers from across Lochaber and all sections of the community were recognised at the fifth annual Volunteer Oscar (Voscar) awards ceremony last week.
Organised by Voluntary Action Lochaber (VAL), judges had a mammoth task in whittling down the nominees in each of the categories to arrive at the finalists and winners.
While in any awards ceremony there has to be someone who receives a trophy, it was pointed out that just being nominated shows that the work being done is valued and appreciated making everyone a winner in their own right.
Throughout Lochaber more than 3,000 people volunteer give up their time to assist others.
VAL manager Flora McKee told the Lochaber Times: ‘Each year we are staggered, but not surprised, at the number of nominations we receive for the Voscar awards.
‘The variety of organisations and the number of individuals who are prepared to help others without expectation of payment is incredible.
‘Volunteering in itself is a reward and everyone should know that what they do makes a real, positive, difference, whether or not they are nominated here. Voluntary Action Lochaber is here to assist all voluntary groups and individuals in any way we can.
‘Well done to all who volunteer.’ VAL would also like to thank the Ben Nevis Hotel and the Lochaber Rotary Club.
Awards were made to:-
Good Neighbour of the Year – Dondy Robertson
Dondy is always willing to help any of his neighbours. He volunteers to assist with various duties, such as watering plants his neighbour’s greenhouse when they are on holiday, clearing snow off the road, dog walking, taking in refuse bins after collection and hedge cutting.
Young Scott Volunteer of the Year (under 25) – Gemma MacLeod
Gemma received her award in recognition of all she does on a voluntary basis to support Fort William’s Tuesday Club.
Volunteer of the Year (25 and over) – Sandy Edmond
Sandy became involved with Locheilnet as a representative of the ABC area. For the last six years Sandy has helped with all the physical aspects of the job, including installations, running miles of cable and assisting with repairs in all weathers and in inhospitable locations. With his business experience he has helped with funding applications, creating budgets and health and safety procedures. He has a positive can-do attitude.
Organisation of the Year – Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team
Lochaber Mountain Rescue team provides an invaluable service to the whole community and beyond. All the volunteers give up their time to save lives, while risking their own, enduring inhospitable territories.
Board/Committee Member of the Year – Judith James Davies
Judith has volunteered for Lochaber Hope for more than nine years and has been on the board of directors for seven years. Judith has shown dedication and diversity – her volunteering duties have also included mentoring and facilitating groups. Judith also gives two days a week to the drop-in service. Judith is always there to support other staff and volunteers, and offer a guiding hand when required.
Best Volunteer Supporting Organisation – Nevis Radio
Most of the airtime is hosted by volunteer presenters. Nevis Radio provides all its volunteers with excellent training in the studio. The team works very hard, providing the community with the local radio station and host events while always ensuring the volunteers get the best support. Nevis Radio is also very supportive to other charitable organisations.
Lifetime Achievement – Anne Ferguson
Anne was one of the founding members of Care Lochaber in 1997. She is an active board member for the organisation. As well as Care Lochaber, Anne has also put a lot of her time and energy into other charities. She always gives excellent support to everyone she encounters and has been described as a shining example of what it takes to be a lifelong volunteer.
All Photographs: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image.
Volunteer of the Year (over 25s) Sandy Edmond receives his award from Jane Ivetic, of The Highland Council.