Inspirational youngsters and newspaper delivery veterans have been honoured at a special awards ceremony.
The Aberdeen Journals’ Marischal Square office played host to the Press & Journal and Evening Express Home Delivery Awards yesterday.
Launched in September, the initiative – sponsored by Graham’s family dairy – aims to recognise our paper boys and girls who brave all weathers to ensure our home delivery customers get their newspaper on time.
Nearly 1,000 votes were cast by readers to decide the final winners from across the
north-east and Highlands.
The winners were invited to a special ceremony in their honour where they got the chance to tour the office and enjoy refreshments.
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Neil Mackland, head of newspaper sales and marketing at Aberdeen Journals, told guests the role of a deliverer was more than “just a paper being put through a door” adding it was a “welcome chat and bins being put out”.
Phoebe Menzies, from Westhill, was crowned Evening Express Shining Star, for always going the extra mile for her customers, even helping take in shopping and visiting a local care home.
She said: “I’m happy to have won. It’s nice to hear what all our customers say.”
And Cameron Cowell, from Portlethen, was also recognised in the same category, with customers saying he always takes the time to speak to them.
Readers also spoke highly of Ben Nicolson, from Peterhead, who scooped the P&J Shining Star in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
The 17-year-old was praised for helping many of his customers with gestures such as putting out their bins, or much greater issues, including bereavements.
Ben, who also coaches primary school pupils in football, said: “It’s nice to be recognised. I wasn’t expecting it.”
Adam Black, from Ellon, also won in the same category, with one reader saying he was a “lovely polite 15-year old” and an “excellent” time-keeper.
Fifteen-year-old Georgia Loch, from Cornhill, took home the Deliverer of the Year award for the Evening Express, along with Reece Buckley, from Cove. She said: “When I see my customers I’m going to be really happy.”
Readers said Georgia was a “very bright, charming girl” who was “always smiling and never lets me down” while Reece was praised for being “always reliable and always smiling”.
Buckie’s Ben Lorimer, scooped an award in the Retail Deliverer of the Year category, alongside Kyle Lawrie, of Dingwall, and Jamie Liversidge of Banchory.
Ben, who was described as a “caring young chap”, said he was “delighted” by his win.
The newsagent Ben picks up his papers from, Pozzi in Buckie, also saw one of its staff members come home with an award.
Malcolm Gordon, 73, won a Special Recognition award for his role sorting out the newspapers at the shop and delivering them to all the satellite towns.
Mr Mackland told guests during yesterday’s ceremony that Malcolm puts “us all to shame due to his work ethic and dedication to newspapers”.
The 73-year-old has only taken 10 days off in eight years working for the newsagent but said that “doesn’t bother” him.
David Robertson, who runs the shop, said Malcolm is “fantastic”, adding he “couldn’t do it without him”.
Meanwhile, Fraser Sandison, 16, from Elgin, scooped the P&J Shining Star award for Highlands and Moray, with readers saying his kind gestures range from checks on elderly people, giving cards on special birthdays, to making hospital visits and managing to arrange a wheelchair for one customer.
Fraser, who lives in Elgin, said it was “a bit of a shock” to receive the award but mum Elspeth said she was “just so proud” of her son.
She added: “I’m very proud that people think so highly and we have brought him up to be such a helpful, caring young lad.”
The final Special Recognition award was claimed by newspaper canvasser Danny Gallagher, who Mr Mackland described as a “real character” who is out in “all weathers”.
The 72-year-old said he was “chuffed to bits” to be recognised for his long service.
He added: “This makes it worth it. I wouldn’t be without my job, I love my job.
“I like getting out and speaking to people and the stories you get told if you’re having an off day.”
And the winners are…
Deliverer of the year (P&J)
Lucca Abbate, Chloe Sutherland, Callum Strachan, Amy Cumming
Deliverer of the year (EE)
Reece Buckley, Georgia Loch
Retail Deliver of the Year (P&J)
Ben Lorimer, Jamie Liversidge, Kyle Lawrie
P&J Shining Star (Highlands/Moray)
Ross Lyon, Fraser Sandison
P&J Shinning Star (Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire)
Ben Nicolson, Adam Black
Evening Express Shining Star
Phoebe Menzies, Cameron Cowell
Malcolm Gordon, Danny Gallagher