The Donald Stewart Memorial Trust award for 2016 has been won by Amy McClements from Parkend, near Stornoway.
The Trust decided unanimously that this year’s award be made to Amy, who completed her 6th year in The Nicolson Institute, Stornoway in June and is currently studying at Glasgow University.
The Trustees were highly impressed by Amy’s commitment to her studies and how she managed to make time to support and represent causes both within school and also at community level. They were also impressed with her extraordinary work ethic and time management skills ensuring she met the demands of her studies, holding down three part-time jobs whilst at the same time making time for extraordinary voluntary work.
Among Amy’s many achievements in school were her excellent academic attainment, gaining an impressive 4 A passes and one C pass at Higher level in S5, being selected as the school’s Vice Captain by both pupils and staff and becoming President of Interact.
Although the Trustees were highly impressed with her academic achievements, they were equally impressed with the extra-curricular activities she has been, and continues to be, involved in. In particular, the Trustees, when considering her nomination, were impressed with her sustained commitment to fundraising and charity work, something she has been involved in from an early age.
The Trustees were thrilled to learn of her many fundraising initiatives both for school initiatives, such as Isle Dance on 2nd Year, funds raised whilst President of the Interact Club to the huge sums raised on behalf of Motor Neurone Disease, a cause very close to her heart. They were also extremely impressed to learn of her efforts to establish a local branch of MND Scotland. These are acts of wonderful self-sacrifice and are to be highly commended.
The Award, which is presented annually by the Donald Stewart Memorial Trust, in memory of the long and distinguished service provided by the late MP for the Western Isles, was presented to Amy by Sandy Matheson, recently retired Lord-Lieutenant of the Western Isles, who was a close colleague of Donald Stewart in the days of Stornoway Town Council.
Because of the exceptional quality of this year’s nominations, a Runner-up Award was also made to Amy Mackay, a former pupil of Sir E Scott School, Harris for her achievements in both Gaelic and music and particularly her commitment to the School choir over many years, participating at local and national Mods with an extremely high level of success, over many years at these events. She has been, and continues to be an excellent ambassador for the Gaelic language, culture and music.
Chairman of the Trustees, Murdo Macleod said, “The Trustees were highly impressed with the overall quality of this year’s submissions but were unanimous in their decision to make the award to Amy. The Trustees were delighted to learn of Amy’s many achievements but what particularly impressed us was her commitment to raising funds for causes close to her heart, especially MND, helping improve the lives of others.
"On behalf of the Trust I congratulate Amy on winning this award and wish her well in all that she does in the future. I also congratulate Amy Mackay on her Runner-up award. It is evident that we have a wealth of talented young people in the Western Isles. I wish to thank the schools for their continuing support with the competition, without whom, the competition would not exist.”
The Donald Stewart Memorial Trust was set up following a fund-raising campaign to establish a Trust which would disburse awards to young people in the Western Isles to commemorate the outstanding work of the late Donald Stewart MP. The Trust makes an annual award to an individual 5th or 6th year pupil from any of the secondary schools in the Western Isles for, “outstanding achievement”. The “outstanding achievement” could be attained within the school, perhaps an academic achievement which has been recognised as outstanding at a national or indeed inter-national level or it could be for someone who has attained “outstanding achievement” in their own community, perhaps an act of outstanding community service or an act of bravery or other self-sacrifice.
The current Trustees are Murdo Macleod (Former Director of Education, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar) Chairman, Calum Iain Macleod (Development Director of Comunn na Gàidhlig) Secretary, Councillor Philip McLean (Treasurer), Ronald Macinnes (Uists and Barra Representative) and Margaret Martin (Chairperson of the Western Isles SNP Constituency).
Above, Amy McClements being presented with the Donald Stewart Memorial Trust trophy by Sandy Matheson.
Amy Mackay being presented with the runner-up award by Calum Iain Macleod, Trustee, Donald Stewart Memorial Trust