AWARDS celebrating the very best people in Haddington look set to become an annual event.

More than a dozen awards were handed out on Sunday afternoon as the town welcomed the return of the Haddington Festival.

This year’s awards focused on the efforts of volunteers and voluntary groups who stepped forward to help people impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now, certificates could be presented each year to recognise the efforts of people in Haddington and nearby Athelstaneford.

The ceremony was the idea of Haddington and District Community Council, which also covers the village.

Chris McEwan, chairman of the group, was keen for the ceremony to take place on a regular basis.

He said: “I think it is important to continually recognise everybody in our town and the area – not just Haddington but Athelstaneford and the outlying areas that Haddington and District covers.

“We have got a hospital here in the town and a lot of nurses and people who work in the hospital are from our town.

“A lot of them have given up their time in day-to-day life to do a job they love doing.

“It is worth recognising these people.”

East Lothian Courier: Haddington Heroes were celebrated with a series of awards

Haddington’s heroes were celebrated with awards. Back row, from left: Rab Moran (Our Community Kitchen and Haddington and District Community Council resilience), Louise Begbie, Jacky Docherty (Lammermuir Larder), Rev Alison McDonald (St Mary’s Parish Church), Winter Lenk (Nungate Gala Queen), Provost John McMillan, Rev Liz O’Ryan (Holy Trinity Church), Chris McEwan, Ian Stevenson (Our Community Kitchen), Alison Reynolds (Our Community Kitchen) and Sharron Macpherson (Our Community Kitchen). From row: Gillian Harvey, Colette Walker, Dawn Holmes (Our Community Kitchen), Fiona McEwan, Jan Wilson, Graham Samuel (Our Community Kitchen and Haddington District Community Council resilience), Josh Nisbet (Our Community Kitchen), Sally Greenshields (Our Community Kitchen) and Elaine Kerr (Our Community Kitchen)

The awards were split into three categories: outstanding adult volunteer, outstanding volunteer group, and special person who went above and beyond.

Mr McEwan, along with fellow community councillor Pat Lemmon, Alison Reynolds, Karen Fraser and Louise Begbie were recognised as outstanding adult volunteers.

Mr McEwan was the single point of contact officer for the area during the pandemic and set up the resiliency group, recruiting people to assist in the town’s response to the pandemic.

At the same time, he made more than 2,000 protective shields for key workers.

Mrs Lemmon, who is vice-chairwoman of the community council, helped set up food and clothing grants, as well as the lending library, which saw books and jigsaws delivered to the community while the local library was closed.

Mrs Reynolds is a regular volunteer with Our Community Kitchen and was responsible for setting up, training, co-ordinating and running more than 6,000 kindness calls to maintain a weekly connection to the community.

Mrs Fraser volunteered at the Haddington school hub during the pandemic and ensured that young people had a positive outlook while key worker parents were working.

Finally, Mrs Begbie came up with a series of ideas, including the Rotary buying copies of the Courier to deliver through Our Community Kitchen.

Outstanding groups

Meanwhile, representatives from Haddington and District Community Council’s resilience team, Lammermuir Larder and Our Community Kitchen (OCK) were presented with outstanding volunteer group certificates.

The resilience team carried out duties including collecting shopping, organising tradesmen for repairs and delivery of prescriptions.

The volunteer-led larder was set up to support individuals and families in the area struggling to feed themselves and/or their families.

Finally, OCK delivered up to 250 hot meals per week during the pandemic and also involved other groups in writing small kindness notes.

Caroline McKee, Jan Wilson, Eddie Paton, Fiona McEwan, and Colette Walker and Emma Scott were recognised with special person who went above and beyond certificates.

Ms McKee works in Hilton Lodge Care Home, as well as in the community for the Call-In Homecare service, while Mrs Wilson, previously chairwoman of the community council, ran a number of kindness calls for people who used Our Community Kitchen.

Mr Paton is an avid fundraiser and combined that while working for ELCAP, while Mrs McEwan has provided childcare to youngsters in the Haddington area for more than 15 years.

Finally, Mrs Walker and Miss Scott kept the Pear Tree Nursery running throughout the pandemic.