VOLUNTEERS from throughout East Lothian have been thanked for their outstanding contribution at a heart-warming awards ceremony.

Organised by STRiVE, the Inspiring Volunteering Awards recognise individuals and groups who, by volunteering their time to help others, have had a significant impact on the local community or the people they volunteer to help.

The event, in Haddington’s Maitlandfield House Hotel last Tuesday, was also a celebration of the Year of Young People 2018, with several young people receiving Saltire Summit awards.

Summit Awards are the pinnacle of the Saltire Awards programme and recognise young people who have made an exceptional contribution as a volunteer.

With 80 attendees dressed to impress, a ‘Wall of Fame’ of the shortlisted nominees and the sealed golden envelopes lined up ready to be opened to reveal each winner, the night got off to a brilliant start.

Special guests Iain Gray, MSP for East Lothian, and Provost John McMillan presented the awards.

Mr Gray said: “I was delighted to attend this year’s awards and speak about the valuable contribution made by volunteers here in East Lothian and across Scotland.

“All of the finalists do amazing work, making a positive difference and helping people in their communities.

“In particular, all of the young people who received Summit Awards deserve great praise for their fantastic contribution. They are a great example to us all.”

Winners on the night were: Fundraising and Retail, Holly Thomson; Environment and Education, Richard Rogers; Health and Wellbeing, Loreen Pardoe; Outstanding Trustee, Liz Kilpatrick; Volunteer Team, East Lothian Foodbank; Young Volunteer of the Year, Euan Greig.

Peter Dicker, foodbank manager, said: “It is a fantastic achievement. . . to win the Volunteer Team of the Year award, especially against to such worthy nominees.

“Every volunteer who works in the foodbank or does deliveries for us should feel proud that they support the foodbank in such a positive way. We could not do what we do without them or the support they give, year in and year out.

“A special mention must be made to Liz Kilpatrick, who won Trustee of the Year.

“Liz has been the secretary of our board of trustees almost since the foodbank inception and never fails to go that extra mile for the foodbank, its volunteers and its staff; she is truly passionate about what we do.”

The final accolade of the evening recognised Lifelong Commitment to Volunteering and was won by Irene Grant, who has been involved with Clark’s Concert Party, a Musselburgh-based amateur music and drama group, for more than 50 years, as well as fundraising for the town’s Riding of the Marches and volunteering with Headway, which supports brain injury survivors.

In the words of her nominator: “Irene is a person who devotes her life to making the lives of others better.

“Her volunteering over the last half century has touched the lives of thousands of local people. She is a real asset to her community.”

Summit Award Recipients 2018 were: Lee Adamson, Claire Banner, Francesca Campbell, Connor Cranston, Nathan Ferguson, Holly Fraser, Blythe Gillies, Blair Hay, Cameron Henderson, Rachel La Roche, Brodie Mackay, Charley Millar, Lexi Naylor, Taylor Tait, Holly Thomson and Paul Vernon.