Young people and community heroes honored at Pride of Scotland awards

A schoolboy who underwent a “heart in a box” transplant and a pensioner who saved a woman’s life during a knife attack are to be honoured with awards for unsung heroes.

They are among those being recognised at the Daily Record Pride of Scotland Awards, in partnership with TSB, which celebrate ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Aaron Hunter, from Falkirk, was born with only half a heart and ultimately needed a heart transplant and received the Child of Courage Award at the ceremony – held at Hopetoun House in South Queensferry.

In 2018, a suitable heart was found for the 10-year-old, but it had been kept pumping outside a human body in a pioneering “heart in a box” procedure.

The procedure had been used on adults but Aaron became the first child in the world to undergo that new type of transplant, award organisers said.

He told the PA news agency he planned to take the trophy into school – or at least take a photo of it – while keeping it at his or his nana’s house.

Others being honoured at the event – being hosted by Kirsty Gallacher and Nicky Campbell – include Jamie McCallum, 42, from Prestwick, who created a Carpool Karaoke style video featuring children with Down’s syndrome which went viral, leading to the creation of a charity and a movement intended to challenge negative perceptions about Down’s.

The father-of-three, whose eight-year-old daughter Rosie has Down’s syndrome, was recognised with the TSB Community Hero award presented by Still Game stars Gavin Mitchell and Sanjeev Kholi.

Mitchell, who played Boaby the Barman in the BBC comedy, admitted: “I don’t really like award ceremonies, generally but these are real awards for real people that really matter.

“These people really, really deserve and have earned it – they’ve done a lot of selfless things and a lot of stuff from themselves and for the communities and their stories of are incredible.”

Others being honoured include Sir Godfrey Palmer, 81, known as Geoff, from Midlothian, who became Scotland’s first black professor in 1988 and has been a powerful voice in the Black Lives Matter movement.

He is now emeritus professor in the School of Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University as well as their new chancellor and receives a lifetime achievement award.

Sir Godfrey told PA: “It’s a welcome surprise however, to me it reflects not only what I’ve done but also what a lot of people have done for me.

“To me that is something which I hope will serve as an example to other young people that people are watching what you’re doing, just do your best. And I think that’s all I tried to do.

“We’re making a country where there’s educational opportunities for all and I think what I’ve done is tiny compared to what a lot of other people that are working together we will achieve what we need to make Scotland the most liveable country in the world.”

Stewart Kyasimire, who was presenting Sir Godfrey with his award, also said: “It’s a good excuse to get out… to see that representation, to see the unsung heroes get that recognition it means a lot to me and I’m really happy to be here to present an award to to Godfrey Palmer.

“Just from listening to what he’s done and what he’s achieved from a black perspective for the black communities is empowering for me as well and also for me as a black Scot as well.”

The Scotland Men’s Football Team received a People’s Award.

The young fundraiser of the year award went to Brynn Hauxwell, 16, from Yell in Shetland who is autistic and has ADHD, severe asthma and fixed ankle contractures which means he relies on a wheelchair to get around.

Last year, he covered nearly 1,700 miles last year in his wheelchair in a charity challenge, raising thousands of pounds for Ability Shetland, an organisation that supports disabled people to realise their full potential.

Meanwhile, Lily Douglas (pictured), 13, from Perth, who has a rare bone cancer and now relies on a wheelchair, has so far raised £3,380 for NHS Charities and receives the Teenager of Courage award.

The outstanding bravery award goes to Gerard Morrison, 72, from Port Glasgow, who fought off a man who stabbed a member of staff in a housing association office, leaving the 45-year-old mother seriously injured.

The 72-year-old from Port Glasgow told PA: “The girl that got stabbed is here tonight too with her husband and their daughter so I’m really delighted about that.

“We’re all big friends now.”

Police constables Lisa Macpherson and David Fraser, 30 and 42 respectively, from Stornoway in Lewis, are being recognised for their actions after they rescued a woman and her dog from her burning cottage after a car smashed into it and flames spread from the vehicle to her home.

Former Celtic and Scotland footballer Charlie Nicholas joked the only match he was missing for the awards on Wednesday was a Celtic friendly with Sheffield Wednesday.

He also said: “(The constables) probably couldn’t have got a busier night but they managed to rescue three people and a dog.

“So this would be the first time in my lifetime I’m actually asking them questions rather than them asking my personal details so I’m not in trouble today.”

Midge Ure was also among those walking the red carpet before handing The Prince’s Trust Young Achiever award to Olivia Blackburn from Dundee.

He told PA: “It’s bizarre not going anywhere for all this time, and all of a sudden back out doing this and it makes you weirdly nervous.

“The presenting something, not performing. It still feels a little bit nerve wracking I’m kind out of the swing of it.

“I’ve spent the last 18 months writing in the studio doing performances from the studio – it’s not quite the same as performing live so I’m hoping, fingers crossed, we’re going to do that quite soon.”

The Daily Record Pride of Scotland Awards, in partnership with TSB, will be broadcast on STV on July 27 at 8pm.

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