Local heroes raise the roof for the star of the Evening Times Community Champions Awards

CHEERS raised the roof of Partick Burgh Hall as the north west’s neighbourhood heroes were crowned in the final heat of this year’s Evening Times Community Champions Awards.

Bailie Allan Stewart presented the first accolade to Team Award winners 3D Drumchapel Volunteers, who have been supporting children and families in the area for more than 20 years.

Carole Shields, who joined the group with her 17-year-old son Steven when he was diagnosed with additional support needs, said she was over the moon the group had won.

“I feel very proud to be here – the project reaches around 500 families, and we support people from birth to old age,” she said.

“This means such a lot to us all.

“We don’t do it for awards but this is the icing on the cake.”

Glasgow Housing Association’s Area Asset Planning Manager Gerry McHugh presented the Individual Award to the remarkable Jane Hook and the Uniformed Services award to brave PC John Crawford.

Jane set up Buddies Clubs and Services, a support group and after-school care club for children with complex conditions and disabilities 22 years ago and it is still going strong.

“I’m absolutely shocked to be here,” said Jane. “I don’t think I did anything special, I just saw a need and tried to help.”

Her service manager at the charity, Julie Cowan, disagreed. “Jane is an inspiration,” she said.

“She is the reason we are here tonight.”

PC Crawford was honoured for his incredible bravery in diving into the freezing waters of Kelvin Loch to try to save a drowning man.

“I’m really honoured to be nominated, but I can’t emphasise how much of a team effort that rescue was,” he said.

“I used the skills I have learned and did my job, which is what the public expect of a police officer, and what they deserve.”

Chief Superintendent Brian McInulty presented the Public Service Award to Drumchapel High School Wider Achievement Programme, which helps pupils engage with the local community, learning skills and building confidence at the same time

Principal teacher Rebecca Dobson said she was overjoyed the school had won.

“Young people deserve to be celebrated,” she added. “Our project is about young people engaging with their community and it has been uplifting and eyeopening to see the passion they have for it. We’re very, very proud of them all.”

The Health and Wellbeing Award was presented by Councillor Mohammad Razaq, representing Glasgow Community Planning Partnership, to bike recycling project Glasgow Bike Station.

Project manager Victoria Leiper said: “It’s so exciting just to be here, in such prestigious company. We feel honoured to be part of the awards.”

North Kelvin Sports Development Group was the worthy winner of the Sports Award, presented by Scottish Fire and Rescue Group Manager Stephen McGrath.

As well as running 12 football teams, the group organises several outstanding community projects, tackling issues as diverse as social exclusion and sectarianism.

Delighted volunteers Kay Coombe and Maxine Dempsey, and their 12-year-old sons Sean and Xander, who play in one of the footie teams, were over the moon.

“It’s a real honour and it’s great for all the volunteers and coaches who work so hard,” said Kay.

The final prizes, Senior Award and Young Award, were presented by Evening Times Editor Graham Shields.

The winner of the Senior Award was Robert Alston, a ‘one-man community anchor’ who combines his roles on Woodside Community Council, Hillhead Area Partnership and local music group with a new role as volunteer lock keeper with Scottish Canals.

Robert said: “It’s a bit of a surprise to win – nothing I do is a chore, I love helping out and giving something back.”

The Young Award went to DRC Generations Peer Mentor Group, an inspirational bunch of teenagers who plan and deliver sessions based on a whole range of hardhitting topics, including substance misuse and bullying, to primary and secondary pupils.

Development officer Michelle Clarke said: “These young people are amazing and deserve to win.

“The messages they take to these young people don’t stop at the schoolgates, they reach the whole community.”