Aberdeen community heroes who help and inspire others are to be honoured at an annual awards ceremony.
Inchgarth Community Centre and Garthdee Community Council’s Margaret E Morrison Spirit of the Community Awards have announced this year’s deserving recipients.
Awards organisers said the event aims to celebrate “all that is good and powerful about Aberdeen’s citizens”.
An Aberdeen teenager who has had an eye and part of his jawbone removed after getting a rare form of cancer behind his cheekbone said today he was shocked to discover he was being given an award.
Aiden Cowie, 19, from Bridge of Don, had to put his dream of becoming a mechanical engineer on hold after being diagnosed in April last year.
He said: “Before I was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called sarcoma, I used to volunteer for the 35th Danestone Boys’ Brigade and for children’s play schemes in the summer. I volunteered my time in the summer for the congregational church where my grandfather is a minister and we were able to take kids on day trips.
“But since I had surgery to remove my eye, part of my jaw and teeth, I have been hoping to get my energy up and ideally go back to helping, since I was quite involved.
“I had the tumour removed in February and I am now cancer-free.
“I was shocked when I found out I was receiving the award, but I’m looking forward to getting my energy up after the surgery to go to the award ceremony.”
Another one of this year’s honourees, Ron Bird, who founded the Guarana Street Band 15 years ago, said he was “overjoyed” .
The band performs music similar to samba and offers people, both able-bodied and disabled, the chance to take part. Ron, who lives in Northfield, said: “We are completely self-funded and have been going on for about 15 years. We offer people the opportunity to take part in the band completely free and also help with transport.
“The band had about 30 members and we have a significant amount of people with disabilities and mental health issues and various ethnic minorities who participate.
“When I found out we had been recognised for the award I was overjoyed. It really is a big honour.”
David Forbes, the founder of Future Choices charity, is being recognised for his decade-long work with the disabled community.
The 35-year-old from Hazlehead said: “It is the biggest honour to be recognised. I never thought I would get to 10 years.”
David launched the organisation in 2008 after the council-run day centre Choices on Westburn was axed due to budget cuts.
Another award winner Jo Duthie, 70, volunteers her time to several organisations.
Jo said: “I came to live in Garthdee in 2003 after nearly 30 years in nursing and I now volunteer in Inchgarth Community Centre, helping out at the TLC foodbank and Future Choices when I can between other commitments.
“I am also involved in CFINE to promote the Scottish Government’s initiative for free sanitary products.
“The centre is expertly managed by a superb team and I am proud to be part of it. There is a strength at the centre that can’t be measured.”
Wendy Sinclair, 36, who volunteers as chairwoman of Kaimhill Parent Council, is also set to receive an award. She said: “I’m a bit surprised.
“It doesn’t feel justified but it’s very nice.”
Colleen Castillo was also nominated for her work with the parent council.
She lost her mother in December but kept up her volunteering throughout.
She said: “I’m shocked. I didn’t expect it.
“I’ve been helping out with the parent council and fundraising group.
“You just keep doing it. We’re doing it for the kids.”
Shaun O’Driscoll, 50, of Tillydrone, was nominated for his work with Riverbank Primary School’s football team and also the Lighthouse Support Centre.
He said: “I’ll be gracious about it.
“I’m just an ordinary guy looking out for the younger generation. I’m delighted I’m getting recognition.”
Dezibel Drummers are to receive an award as well for being inclusive and supporting community organisations over a prolonged period of time.
The Petroleum Women’s Club are in line for an award too, for outstanding success and fundraising for nearly 40 years in the city.
Paul O’Connor, manager of Inchgarth Community Centre and chairman for Garthdee Community Council, said: “The Margaret E Morrison Spirit Of The Community Awards is a high-profile free community celebration event which recognises the unsung heroes of our community and city through an evening of awards, tremendous entertainment, buffet, ice cream, wine and positive community spirit.
“The award recipients represent all that is good and powerful about Aberdeen’s citizens, where people have triumphed over adversity, dedicated their lives to a cause that improves the lives of others, where people have excelled in their chosen field, or given selflessly to make a difference in their community.”
This year’s awards will take place on June 29 from 6.30pm.