An audience of around 110 people joined together in the Town Hall in Stornoway on Thursday 2nd June to celebrate the achievements of some of the remarkable volunteers from Lewis and Harris.
The Volunteer Centre Western Isles hosted the event which gave recognition and thanks to both young and older volunteers. Callanish and Saltire Youth Awards were the first to be marked, with primary children from Sgoil an Rubha receiving their Callanish Awards (for volunteers under 12) for two events: a beach clean- up with a Royal Family theme and a Big Breakfast to raise funds for Cancer reserch. Saltire Awards (12 – 24 years olds) were then presented to: Isabelle Graham – 200 hours; Scotty McCranor – 10, 200, and 500 hours; Lyndsey Fraser – 10hrs; Catherine Anne Hunter- 10hrs; Caitlin Macleod – 200hours; Debbie Hunter – 200 hours; Joanne Maclean – 100 hours and Nicola Finalyson – 500 hours.
Older volunteers who both help out at Alzheimer Scotland (Lewis and Harris) were also given awards for their dedication to volunteering with the group: Alec John Macleod getting a Kisimul Award (for adult volunteering) and Donald George Morrison getting a Clisham Award (for outstanding service).
The main awards were as follows:
Young Volunteer of Year Winner: Nicola Finlayson; Runner Up: Kieran Gilroy
Volunteer of the Year (Lewis) Winner: Donald George Morrison; Runner up: Alasdair Martin
Volunteer of the Year (Harris) Winner Lucy Macdonald; Runner up: Jean Donaldson – award accepted by Mairianna MacDonald who made the nomination.
Services to Volunteering (Lewis): Members of the Cancer Research Isle of Lewis Committee – Kay Mackay; Catherine Gomez; Murdina Macdonald and Joan Stewart.
Services to Volunteering (Harris) : Ethel McNally – accepted by Gillian Scott – Forrest who made the nomination.
Organisation of the Year Joint winners: Stornoway Old People’s Welfare Association (Lewis Retirement Centre) and Newmarket Gateway Trust; Runner up – Nicolson Institute Interact Club.
The Awards were received with great enthusiasm from the winners. Young Volunteer Nichola Finlayson exclaimed “It’s fantastic!” and Kieran Gilroy said that he was “Really made up about it!”
“We really didn’t expect it,” commented a smiling member of the Newmarket Gateway Trust, joint winners of Organisation of the Year. Fellow winners, Stornoway OPWA said:”We’re really proud – it is a team effort.”
Lucy Macdonald, Harris Volunteer of the Year, said she was: “Shocked and a bit overwhelmed, but very pleased.”
Refreshments were served after the awards were presented, and many of the audience were happy to linger over a cup of tea and to enjoy the celebration cake, which had been ceremonially cut by Anne Macphail, Principal Teacher of Sgoil an Rubha. Much favourable feedback was received from the audience, many of whom remarked that it was a delightful evening and how important it was to celebrate the achievements of so many volunteers. “It was very uplifting,” was a frequent comment.
Joint VCWI manager Suzanne Macaulay said: “The Volunteer Centre Western Isles would like to thank everyone for contributing to the success of our 2016 Volunteer Awards. We would like to congratulate everyone who was nominated along with the Award winners; it was truly amazing to see the breadth of volunteering that takes places across our islands. Please note that we will be posting photos from the Awards along with a list of nominees and winners over this week on both our web site and Facebook.”
This year, to mark the queen’s 90th birthday, Volunteers’ Week has been extended to 1st – 12th June, which means there is still time for organisations to recognise the amazing work done by their volunteers and to say a big thank you for all the effort over the last year. It can be as simple as a thank you card, a tea party, Volunteers’ Week certificates or just a big smile and letting them know how much they are appreciated. For more ideas on how to celebrate the week with volunteers, please contact the local VC offices.