The inspirational work and contributions that unsung individuals, businesses, schools and voluntary organisations have made to the Fife community were recognised at the ninth annual Kingdom FM Local Hero Awards on Friday August 26.
Around 300 guests attended the glitzy ceremony at the Rothes Halls in Glenrothes which celebrated the self-less work of some of Fife’s unsung heroes and the best of the Kingdom of Fife.
The event also acknowledged the “continued support” given by this year’s seven main sponsors: The Courier, DPS Group, FMC Technologies, Pentland Landrover, Paint-Tec Fife, Forth Ports Scotland, and Owen Buchanan Builders & Skips Ltd.
The 15 individual category sponsors were also applauded.
Some 3000 entries were whittled down to winners in 17 categories.
The winner of the best community award, sponsored by Diageo, was Benarty Events Group.
Formed in 2014, volunteers organise the Benarty Gala each year to bring the community together. Members have raised thousands of pounds through local events and recently held a charity night in aid of local boy Kian Rafferty to help his family travel with him to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London for medical treatment.
The winner of the student/apprentice of the year award, sponsored by Fife College, was Cameron Brewer, 16. He joined skip loader repair company JM Services straight from school and has just completed his first year apprenticeship in gardening and landscape. Whilst his school report was critical, his college report says he is intensive, knowledgeable and respected by his peers.
The winner of the child of achievement award, sponsored by Skene Group Construction Services Ltd, was Cara Smyth. Born with a spinal deformity which has restricted her from birth, she wears a back brace to aid movement and is a strong, successful swimmer. She claimed a medal at the recent Scottish Disability Sport National Short Course Performance Championships in Stirling.
The new business start-up award, sponsored by Business Gateway Fife, went to G&J Care. The Glenrothes-based home care business, run by Julie and Graham Stevenson, offers personal and palliative care and meals in the comfort of people’s home.
The award for best green initiative, sponsored by St Andrews University, was nextGenergy.
Founded by Shirley Paterson after she reduced her home energy bills by £2500 a year by investing in a range of renewable technologies, the Glenrothes-based outfit offers Green Deal Assessments, EPCs and the sale of energy-saving products.
The Kingdom Kid award went to Toby Etheridge, who is battling leukaemia. Despite facing gruelling chemotherapy sessions on a daily basis, this incredible youngster spends his time working hard to raise funds for sick children. He has raised over £15,000 for CLIC Sargent since being diagnosed via head shaves, haircuts, bridge to bridge walks and fairs.
The best school category, sponsored by MKM Building Supplies, was won by Calaiswood in Dunfermline. The school provides specialist education to meet the needs of children and young people who have complex and additional support needs. HMIe and Care Commission reports have given it outstanding and excellent reports.
The employee of the year category, sponsored by Source Recruitment UK, was won by Johnathan Reeves. Working at Zest Café in St Andrews, Johnathan teaches core skills and hospitality management to people with barriers to employment such as people with learning difficulties and ex-offenders.
The provost award, sponsored by Fife Council, went to the Linton Lane Centre. Serving the Templehall area of Kirkcaldy and beyond for over 50 years, it promotes good relationships, friendship and provides a foodbank service.
The best visitor attraction award, voted by Kingdom FM listeners and sponsored by Abbeyford Leisure, went to Hill of Tarvit mansion house, near Cupar.
The winner of the volunteer of the year award, sponsored by Cadham Pharmacy, was Billy Smith. The British Red Cross volunteer driver regularly transports seriously ill patients to hospital appointments and is described as “one in a million” by those who nominated him.
The best neighbour award, sponsored by Delmor Estate Agents, was George Brown of Methil. He helps neighbours by checking in on the elderly regularly and takes many of the residents to hospital and doctor appointments.
The Mary Leishman Award, sponsored by the Mary Leishman Foundation, went to Limelight Productions. Established 11 years ago as a small cabaret company by Bobby and Fiona Mitchell, it is now one of Scotland’s premier amateur/community theatre groups. It operates a ‘doors open’ policy encouraging people of all ages to take part irrespective of their age, gender, race or disability.
The carer of the year award, sponsored by Abbotsford Care Ltd, went to Kahra Stewart. The 13 year old from Cupar cares for both her parents and is described as a “wonderful kid who deserves recognition”.
Fundraiser of the year, sponsored by Ceramic Tile Warehouse, was awarded to “inspirational” Danny, Shonagh and Alfie Byrne.
Alfie’s little sister Evie died from cancer at the age of two. The family have raised money for local children’s charities – LoveOliver and It’s Good to Give since Evie’s death.
The award for sports person of the year, sponsored by Police Scotland, went to Kieran Steer.
The 20-year-old, recently orphaned, suffers from peripheral neuropathy and is now a wheelchair user. First exposed to the sport of boccia through Disability Sport Fife, he is preparing to make his Paralympic debut in Rio.
The final award of the evening – the Kingdom FM special award – went to former Mid Fife and Glenrothes MSP and recently retired Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick.
The lifetime achievement award paid tribute to Cowdenbeath-born Tricia’s dedication to serving Fife – even after she was diagnosed with cancer.
Working tirelessly over the decades to serve others, she worked for the homeless charity Shelter Scotland before being elected to the Scottish Parliament.
Kingdom FM Station manager Darren Stenhouse said: “Our chosen winner never shied away from the challenges of being a politician and always fought hard for jobs and investment for the Fife economy.
“(As Presiding Officer) she kick-started a major reform process at Holyrood that has continued under her successor and also guided the country through the 2014 independence referendum.
“In 2013 our chosen winner was diagnosed with cancer and spent time in the Victoria Hospital. Her battle only became public knowledge after she made a full recovery.
“Throughout her illness, she continued her work as a Fife MSP and Presiding Officer, and never retracted her promise, made on her first day in office, to always do her best, and to always put the Scottish Parliament first.”
Further tribute was paid to Tricia in a special extended video which included messages from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, Charlie Reid from The Proclaimers, constituency successor Jenny Gilruth MSP and members of Tricia’s family including sister Alice McGarry, husband Frank and children Louise and Stevie Marwick.
Entertainment for the night included a performance by Iain Hunter; Britain’s Got Talent 2016 semi-finalists – Dunfermline’s Spartans Resurrection; Ali Robertson; and the most famous bagpipe band on the planet – The Red Hot Chilli Pipers.
FULL LIST OF 2016 KINGDOM FM LOCAL HERO AWARD WINNERS
*Best Community Award sponsored by Diageo:
Winner – Benarty Events Group
Runners-up – East Wemyss Community Club and Carnegie American Football Club.
*Student/Apprentice of the Year Award sponsored by Fife College:
Winner – Cameron Brewer
Runners-up – Lewis Clennan and Thomas Morgan.
*Child of Achievement Award sponsored by Skene Group Construction:
Winner – Cara Smyth
Runners-up – Elize Bauld and Siobhan Ross.
*New Business Start-Up Award sponsored by Business Gateway Fife:
Winner – G&J Care
Runners-up – Scampers Softplay Ltd and The Madhouse Bakery
*Best Green Initiative sponsored by St Andrews University:
Winner – nextGenergy
Runners-up – Upcycled Timber Co and Wendy Gundmundsson.
*Kingdom Kid Award – Kingdom FM’s children’s charity:
Winner – Toby Etheridge
*Best School sponsored by MKM Building Supplies:
Winner – Calaiswood
Runners-up – Waid Academy and Fair Isle Primary
*Employee of the Year Award sponsored by Source Recruitment UK:
Winner – Johnathan Reeves
Runners-up – Jack Vincent and Norma Graham.
*Provost Award sponsored by Fife Council:
Winner – Linton Lane Centre
Runners-up – Fife Shopping and Support Services and Parkrun St Andrews.
*Best Visitor Attraction sponsored by Abbeyford Leisure:
Winner – Hill of Tarvit Mansion House
Runners-up – Kirkcaldy Galleries, The Maspie Den and Yad Waterfall and St Andrews Aquarium.
*Volunteer of the Year sponsored by Cadham Pharmacy:
Winner – Billy Smith
Runners-up – Chrissie White and Lilian Stone.
*Best Neighbour Award sponsored by Delmor Estate Agents:
Winner – George Brown
Runners-up – Kay Gourlay and Wilma Horsburgh.
*Mary Leishman Award, sponsored by the Mary Leishman Foundation:
Winner – Limelight Productions
Runners-up – Suit and Pace and Valda Wicks.
*Carer of the Year Award sponsored by Abbotsford Care Ltd:
Winner – Kahra Stewart
Runners-up – Barbara Hughes and Stephanie MacDonald.
*Fundraiser of the Year Award, sponsored by Ceramic Tile Warehouse:
Winner – Danny, Shonagh and Alfie Byrne
Runners-up – Ron and Elizabeth McDonald and Helen Jones.
*Sports Person of the Year Award sponsored by Police Scotland
Winner – Kieran Steer
Runners-up – Stefan Hoggan and Melissa Maxwell.
*Kingdom FM Award for Lifetime Achievement
Winner – Tricia Marwick