IN JUST three weeks’ time, the East Lothian Courier will celebrate the people who make such a positive difference to the lives of others and our communities.

Our Community Champion Awards night takes place at Haddington Corn Exchange on Thursday, May 30, when we will reveal the winners in categories covering everything from sport to business, and teaching to charities.

East Lothian Courier: East Lothian Courier Community Champion Awards logo

Last month, our judging panel had the difficult task of deciding the finalists for our awards, and the task of choosing the winners was no easier.

Now we can’t wait to recognise the people who make our communities a better place – every one of our finalists certainly does that.

Courier editor Robbie Scott said: “There are so many people in our towns and villages who, week after week, year after year, step up to help those less fortunate than themselves, giving their time and efforts to make other people’s lives better.

“We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to submit a nomination, as well as everyone who was nominated for everything they do for their communities, and we’re excited to highlight the great efforts of all our finalists. I’d also like to give a special mention to our awards sponsors, without whom none of this would be possible.”

The Community Champion Awards are generously sponsored by East Coast Buses; PureMalt; SSE Renewables; and Sustainable Facilities Management.

East Lothian Courier: The East Lothian Courier Community Champion Awards are sponsored by East Coast Buses, PureMalt, SSE Renewables Berwick Bank Wind Farm, and Sustainable Facilities Management

Tickets for the awards evening, hosted by TV and radio personality Bryan Burnett, can be purchased online via:

Here’s a look at all the finalists for the Community Champion of the Year award, sponsored by East Coast Buses:

Karl Cleghorn

East Lothian Courier: Karl Cleghorn. 2022. Photo: Angus Bathgate.

KARL has helped turn around so many local charities over the years.

He has been involved in Musselburgh Horticultural Society, Musselburgh Athletic and is presently involved in assisting The Hollies to help it become sustainable.

Karl has done all this while battling two bouts of throat cancer and is still having to go for treatment.

Karl set about assisting local charities and groups become viable and ensured their future by sourcing funding and giving advice on how to remain solvent in the future.

Karl’s leadership, hard work and support has encouraged others to take up roles to support struggling local charities.

Speaking about his role, Karl said: “As trustees, we are volunteers, working towards something we all believe in – a community-led hub, shaped by our community to meet our community’s needs.”

Daena Robertson

East Lothian Courier: Daena Robertson. Image: Bridges Project Facebook page

WORKING at charity the Bridges Project in Musselburgh, not only does Daena contribute to a campaign aimed at improving the support for neurodiverse pupils in schools but she is also an incredible mentor for the charity’s peer mentoring service Listening Peers.

In this role, she uses her own lived experience to mentor other young people with complex challenges.

Daena originally became involved with the Bridges Project to receive support from its services.

However, she soon decided she wanted to give back and, in October 2023, she became a mentor for Listening Peers, which provides young people with complex challenges with respite and a supportive role model who helps youngsters improve their confidence and wellbeing.

Daena has already mentored five vulnerable young people.

Daena has transformed the lives of the young people she has mentored.

One example is one of her mentees, who did not want to leave her house and was disengaged from all services and activities. However, within just an hour of receiving support from Daena, her attitude completely changed and she requested to do several activities together out in the local community.

Beryl Stevenson

East Lothian Courier: Beryl Stevenson. Image: Angus Bathgate

BERYL is a well-known Wallyford stalwart who has been involved in many, many activities over the years and always on a voluntary basis.

She helped in the steering group when the village community centre was being built. For many years she helped train the children who were in the annual Wallyford Gala Day, as well as make the dresses for all the girls taking part.

She was a member of the PTA in the village primary school and was a champion fundraiser for many years.

She has been a member of Wallyford Community Council for nearly 35 years and has been involved in countless events.

Most recently she has undertaken a 50km walk, despite having a hip and two knee replacement operations.

She did this over a few weeks and raised more than £1,200 for the Christmas light funds. She also runs friends/neighbours to/from hospital appointments, never taking anything for these numerous journeys.