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Volunteers from across the region put on their best bib and tucker on Friday night for the online Argyll and Bute TSI Volunteer of the Year Awards.
A total of 78 nominations were made across the nine categories, with judges having a tough time selecting the winners due to the exceptionally high standard.
Takki Sulaiman, CEO of Argyll and Bute Third Sector Interface, said: ‘We are lucky that in Argyll and Bute there is a strong culture of volunteering and during the past 18 months our communities benefitted from an increase in those coming forward as demand soared.
‘These awards provide a platform for acknowledging the important contribution of all volunteers and not just those who were lucky enough to win.’
Jenni Minto, MSP for Argyll and Bute, was one of the guest speakers on the night along with Ishbel Smith (Founder of Heart in Mouth and a trustee of Mary’s Meals), Andrew Nisbet (chairman of Live Argyll) and Pete McDill (chairman of Argyll and Bute TSI).
Depute Provost and councillor Roddy McCuish was remotely on hand to present the Young Volunteer of the Year Award.
The Regional Hero awards were split into six areas (Helensburgh and Lomond, Cowal and Bute, The Islands, Mid Argyll, Oban and Lorn, Kintyre).
Colonsay’s Kevin Byrne won the Islands category.
Nominated by Sheena Nisbet, Kevin has worked tirelessly to keep Colonsay litter free for the last 20 years. He organises islanders, visitors and his own family to pick up
rubbish – much of it coming from the sea.
He does weekly pick-ups regardless of the weather and when he was the school bus driver he would stop and pick up rubbish spotted on the roadside thus making the young people aware of the need to keep the island litter free.
‘He was way ahead of the current drive to keep our beaches and surroundings clean
and as a result Colonsay is a beautiful island,’ said Sheena.
Alan Macdougall from Oban collected the Oban and Lorn Regional Hero Award for his dedicated volunteering across the board.
Alan was nominated by Hope Kitchen service manager Catriona Petit who described him as a ‘stalwart of Oban’s volunteering community’ for his voluntary work at Dunollie, his involvement in the setting up and facilitating of groups at Martyn’s Monday Club (now Argyll Wellbeing Hub) and his support of the Rockfield centre, as well as his service to Hope Kitchen.
Volunteering in sport was also given recognition on the night, with Live Argyll giving their backing to four awards.
Oban High School (OHS) duo Poppy MacKillop and Isla MacGillivray were among the first to be honoured for their endeavours on the sports field.
Both were nominated for the Young Sports Coach of the Year award by OHS principal teacher of PE Murray Hamilton after being involved with rugby at the school for a long time.
On learning there was a gap in coaching provision for the new girls Poppy and Isla approached Murray to ask if they could take the lead.
The girls have more than doubled the playing numbers of young girls in Oban, delivering sessions every week, organising and planning competitive matches, throughout the pandemic and managing all of this within the strict Covid
Faraid Winterton picked up the award for Young Primary Sports Leader after being nominated by Adventure Oban’s Ben Sunderland who stated that the youngster had been instrumental in galvanising Dunbeg Primary School to participate in the One Million Miles initiative run by his group.
‘She has inspired and encouraged her school mates to contribute miles to the project
and in turn motivated her teachers to renew commitment to school-wide activities such as the Mile-A-Day initiative,’ he added.
‘Faraid’s attitude and determination has led Dunbeg to set an example that many of the other local schools have subsequently followed.’
Adventure Oban scooped the next award in their own right. The Community Sporting Hero of the Year accolade is awarded to an individual, group sports club who has made a significant impact on or contribution to the development of physical activity in the
A new community group launched during Covid, Adventure Oban was formed by volunteers in the Oban Community Sports Hub and nominated by Live Argyll’s Stacey Holloway.
The objective of the group is to encourage residents to make full use of the natural playground their local area has to offer. Through the projects the group have run in the
past year they are breaking down some of the barriers to taking part in outdoor physical activity and sport. Especially during the pandemic.
Depute Provost and councillor Roddy McCuish presented Oban’s Aiden Macleod with the Young Volunteer of the Year (under 25) award.
Aiden was nominated by Fiona Ferris and has been volunteering with Hope Kitchen, for five years. Initially he used to arrive after school to wash dishes or entertain customers with his ukulele.
Over the years Aiden has continued to be part of the team and helps with taking food orders, serving customers, food preparation, and is still often found washing dishes. He has sole responsibility for collecting donated food from a local supermarket and does this once or twice a week as required.
Last but not least in a packed evening of celebration was the Lifetime Achievement Award which went to Mull’s very own Colin Morrison.
Nominated by Helen Murray, Colin has a long history of leading or volunteering for
numerous organisations on the island. His passion and vison for the community is obvious to anyone who speaks to him.
Colin has been a volunteer with numerous organisations since at least 2000. He
was involved in the initial meetings with what eventually became Wild
Scotland, was on the Dervaig Village Hall committee and the Dervaig
Community Renewables Trust, has sat on the Mull and Iona Community
Council, he is a First Responder, chairman of Visit Mull and Iona, he has sat
on the Ferry Committee and was part of Mull’s Covid Crisis Management Group. Since 2014 he has been a volunteer on Mull for the SNP and gives up so much of his time, freely and willingly.
Awards list in full
Covid Volunteer: Lily Davies and Lois Cook (Dunoon)
Helensburgh and Lomond Regional Hero: Fraser Gildea
Cowal and Bute Regional Hero: Lesley Slaven (Dunoon)
Islands Regional Hero: Kevin Byrne (Mull)
Mid Argyll Regional Hero: Ronnie Johnston (Tarbert)
Oban and Lorn Regional Hero: Alan Macdougall (Oban)
Kintyre Regional Hero: Steve Byrne (Campbeltown)
Volunteer Sports Coach of the Year (over 25): Simon Kershaw Yates (Helensburgh)
Volunteer Young Sports Coach of the Year (12-25): Poppy MacKillop and Isla MacGillivray (Oban)
Young Primary Sports Leader of the Year: Faraid Winterton (Dunbeg)
Community Sporting Hero: Adventure Oban
Young Volunteer of the Year (under 25): Aiden Macleod (Oban)
Volunteer of the Year (over 25): Mary McGinley (Helensburgh)
Lifetime Achievement: Colin Morrison (Mull)