Broch hero John Anderson is honoured for a lifetime dedicated to helping others
Fraserburgh’s John Anderson has been named the winner of the 2021 Inspiring Aberdeenshire Lifetime Achievement award.
And a group set up to support communities through the pandemic – Strengthening Our Buchan Response – was one of the joint winners of the Covid-19 Response Award.
Described by Aberdeenshire Provost Bill Howatson as “a true inspiration to others across Aberdeenshire”, John Anderson was honoured for his dedication, commitment and hard work on behalf of the Fraserburgh community.
One three people nominated for the Lifetime Achievement award, John has had many roles in his life, from Boys Brigade Officer through to a member of International Rescue travelling the world to help in countries struck by natural disasters.
He was station officer at Fraserburgh Fire Station in which time he set up the Blue Light Festival which raises fund for various charities around the area, and he set up the Fraserburgh Resilience group through his involvement with the Community Council and raised funds for the installation of defibrillators.
During the winter, if there is heavy snow, he organises volunteers to clear paths for pensioners, get shopping and help where it is needed. If there is a project needing volunteers, John will be there, planting trees being the latest one.
John, who was presented with the British Empire Medal earlier this summer for his services to the community, was described during the awards ceremony as someone who has “enriched many lives over the years” and it was stated that “John and his lifetime of work are woven into the fabric of the Fraserburgh community”.
Strengthening our Buchan Response was named as one of three joint winners of the Covid-19 Response Award, an extra category added to celebrate the way communities have supported each other throughout the pandemic.
Perhaps fittingly, Professor Jason Leitch, the National Clinical Director, was given the task of revealing the winners of the award during last Thursday’s live-streamed ceremony.
Mr Leitch said: “It was a huge pleasure to be asked to hand out the Covid-19 Response Award.”
He praised the “incredible resilience” and “amazing efforts” of the many groups throughout Aberdeenshire, adding: “Having spoken to and engaged with some of the judging panel, I am aware that the nominations in this category were vast and very impressive.
"The panel members were determined to do their bit to say a special thank you for all the individual and community efforts we have seen across Aberdeenshire during this time.”
At the start of the 2020 lockdown, many communities rallied to pull together to ensure that no member of their community was left isolated and in need of help.
In Buchan, a number of these groups came together under the banner 'Strengthening our Buchan Response’ and over the following 12 months organised volunteers far and wide to meet local needs.
As a group they worked with other services – including the NHS, Fire, Police, the local Rural Partnership and Aberdeenshire Council – to ensure that links were in place for support as part of keeping communities safe.
Some of what they did included setting up Whatsapp groups for volunteers, organising social media campaigns, distributing information leaflets and organising regular Covid Newsletters.
They helped secure funding for food supplies, arranged PPE and supported calls for assistance through the Grampian Coronavirus Assistance Hub.
The group’s members helped right across Buchan througout the pandemic, cementing themselves as a lifeline for the whole area.
This was the second that the Inspiring Aberdeenshire Awards had been streamed online, and they were again hosted by journalist and radio presenter Fiona Stalker, and the Provost of Aberdeenshire, Councillor Bill Howatson.
Cllr Howatson said: “It never fails to amaze me that year in and year out we hear about astonishing people doing astonishing things.
"People whose work we are not aware of, but they go the extra mile all over Aberdeenshire to help each other and their communities.
"To mark the Covid efforts this year was especially important, given all we have been through, and I was delighted that Professor Leitch joined us to hand out that award.
"It was, yet again, another inspiring night which will hopefully inspire others.”
• Aberdeenshire's Future award: Aiden Clark and Rachel Green (Portlethen).
• Inspirational Volunteer award: Mairi Eddie (Johnshaven).
• Aberdeenshire Caring award: Huntly Homecare Team (Huntly).
• Cultural award: Paul Anderson (Aboyne).
• Beautiful Aberdeenshire Environmental award: Crawford Paris (Turning Back the Plastic Tide campaign).
• Local Hero Courage award: Alfie Fraser.
• Community Spirit award: Young People’s Organising and Campaigning Group (various locations).
• Covid-19 Response award: The Larder Portlethen (Portlethen); Portsoy Area Action Team (Portsoy); Strengthening our Buchan Response (various across Buchan).
• Inspiring Aberdeenshire Lifetime Achievement award: John Anderson (Fraserburgh).