A SPOTLIGHT was shone on the outstanding efforts of Stirling’s unsung heroes at the 2018 Stirling Provost’s Awards on Friday night.

In a glittering ceremony at Stirling Castle filled with speeches, music and entertainment, Provost Christine Simpson recognised more than 20 individuals and groups from across the region who have gone the extra mile for their community.

The biannual event saw nominations this year in the categories of academic, sport, arts and culture, business, community, the voluntary sector, youth, and Special Achievement.

Among the winners were Braehead Community Garden and Raploch Community Partnership for services to the community, while Christie Anne Shannon, Dheraj Shamoo and Wallace High School’s Mental Health Champions won praise for their efforts to change the lives of Stirling’s young people.

Speaking after the event, Provost Simpson said the ceremony was just a small token of Stirling’s true appreciation for all the work acknowledged on the night.

She said: “Whenever we hold this event, I am humbled and inspired by the stories of the voluntary commitments that the people of Stirlingshire make in their community.

“It was hard to whittle down the nominations to pick winners in each category, which is a testament to the wealth of good work and volunteering that is taking place.

“The ceremony itself is a way to bring all the award winners together under one roof and hopefully it will inspire others to continue on this fantastic tradition of going the extra mile for their neighbours and their community.”

Along with the winners in each of the categories, the William ‘Citizen’ Jaffrey Award – a unique award of distinction – was given to the Trossachs Search and Rescue team (TSAR).

William Jaffray of Cambusbarron (1749-1828) was responsible for a smallpox vaccination programme that is believed to have saved the lives of thousands of people. He also won the freedom from slavery of a Caribbean woman, destined to return to the West Indies with her owner.

The accolade that bears his name honours those who do much at their own expense for no reward.

Acting as an emergency response team that provides everything from life-saving search and rescue services to vital community assistance during severe weather, TSAR have been an invaluable part of Stirling Council’s response network for around 16 years.

TSAR’S most senior member, Sion Barrington, was also the recipient of the community award for dedicating around 1,000 hours of annual service to the organisation and his voluntary work across West Stirlingshire.

Stuart Ballantyne, chair of Trossachs Search and Rescue, said: “It is an incredible honour to have been selected as the recipient of the William ‘Citizen’ Jaffray Award by the Provost and Baillies of Stirling.

“There are so many volunteers across the whole Stirling Council area doing remarkable work and we were humbled to hear of their unselfish commitment at the Provost's Awards.

“Our own 40 volunteers are proud to follow in the footsteps of Stirling Street Pastors, the previous winners of this award, who do remarkable work.

“We were also delighted that our most senior member, Sion Barrington, was recognised for the significant volunteering he carries out with us and other organisations in West Stirlingshire."