An Angus woman has won national recognition for her efforts to help people with dementia get regular exercise by leading local walks.
Margaret Mackie from Kirriemuir was named as a winner in the 2021 Paths for All volunteer awards.
She was inspired to volunteer with the Kirrie Connections walking group after her husband, Bob, was diagnosed with dementia.
The group is one of a wide range of activities run by the pioneering town dementia hub.
And national charity Paths for All has named Margaret as their dementia friendly walking volunteer of the year.
The Kirrie Connections group takes members on gentle walks around the Angus town.
It is open to everyone and led by trained volunteers like Margaret.
The walks provide an opportunity for those with dementia to exercise.
But it also offers respite to people caring for those living with the condition.
Margaret said: “I’m overwhelmed with it all.
“I can’t believe it.
“I’m so pleased with my award but also that the centre gets recognition.”
She previously worked as a social care officer in Forfar and Kirrie.
Kirrie Connections works alongside Paths for All to offer safe walking services.
Margaret added: “It’s a 24-hour job to look after my husband and it’s just a little bit of help, a bit of respite for me.
“Kirrie Connections has been wonderful to my husband.
“The people are amazing.
“I’m grateful that there are projects like this where people like my husband can have a safe space to walk and converse with people.
“Dementia is such a lonely disease.
“So for a group of people to come together like this a few times a week is very important.
“It allows people with dementia to get time to socialise with others which they perhaps wouldn’t usually get.”
Virtual awards ceremony
BBC Radio Scotland’s Fiona Stalker praised Margaret at the awards ceremony.
It was held virtually for the second year in a row.
And Margaret was among 11 different winners at the 12th annual celebration.
It showcased the outstanding work of volunteers across the country.
Paths for All supports local authorities and communities to develop inclusive environments for people to be active.
And it includes walking, cycling and wheeling schemes.
Charity chief executive Kevin Lafferty said: “Individuals like Margaret highlight the very reason why we host an annual awards ceremony.
“It is vital we celebrate the outstanding work volunteers carry out in local communities across Scotland on a daily basis.
“Hearing the inspirational stories has highlighted that it is not just enough to say thank you – the work undertaken has provided a lifeline for many.”
The charity awards thousands of pounds worth of grants to local projects.
To find out more which Health Walks you can join in Angus visit www.pathsforall.org.uk/health-walks