25 Falkirk folk and groups who made a difference in 2020

2020 was a year like no other, but it was one which brought the very best out in people across the district.

Wednesday, 30th December 2020, 12:30 pm
Picture Michael Gillen

And this week we celebrate our own people of the year.

We’ve selected 25 individuals and organisations who made a positive contribution across the most challenging of years.

Many came to the fore during the pandemic, putting others first and ensuring that those who were isolated, vulnerable and worried were looked after - whether that was practical support or simply a listening ear.

Cammy Shanks with dog Ty. (Pic: Michael Gillen)

Many made a huge difference to the lives of so many, and their kindness will never be forgotten.

1 Our NHS heroes: They stood in the frontline of the pandemic, and went beyond the call of duty every single shift. From ICU nurses to porters, they all played their part in caring for our loved ones in the darkest of times. Their professionalism was immense - so many families will be forever grateful to them.

2 Rod Moore: The Scottish Ambulance Service paramedic returned to full-time duties when the pandemic hit, offering colleagues the benefit of his 40 years’ experience, but sadly died from Covid-19 in November.

3 Stenhousemuir FC Community Help Initiative: The Warriors recruited a team of volunteers at the onset of the coronavirus crisis who have gone above and beyond to support those in need by delivering more than 6000 meals, making 3000 shopping trips for the vulnerable and distributing north of 11,000 school lunches, among other gestures.

Bowhouse Newsagent. The Farid family -Ghulam Farid, Shagufta Shamin and  Zain Farid.

4 Ashlee Easton: The Braes 13-year-old has bravely been battling neuroblastoma since the age of six. In 2020, she travelled back and forth to New York to receive a treatment programme which could potentially save her life.

5 Aaron McComb: The seven-year-old Shieldhill schoolboy completed more than 350 push ups within a fortnight to support Strathcarron Hospice after it took care of his late grandmother.

6 Gordon and Sam Russell: The Laurieston newlyweds marked their big day by donating more than £13,000 to cover the cost of a day’s care at Strathcarron Hospice

7 Tracey Archibald: The terminally ill Strathcarron Hospice patient married the love of her life at the palliative care facility and made a donation to thank staff for all of their support.

27-04-2020. Picture Michael Gillen. DENNY. Day 35 of UK wide coronavirus lockdown. Singer Liam McGrandles and wife Fiona McGrandles held a front garden Facebook Live gig at their home in Denny, raising over £5100 for two food banks.

8 ROOTS Helping Hands Food Share: What began as a group for parents of children with additional support needs transformed into a food bank that has provided crucial help and handed out hundreds of free meals to deprived families throughout the pandemic.

9 Keeping Larbert and Stenhousemuir Beautiful: The group’s community pantry has offered vital support in times of desperate need and most recently launched Christmas clothes, gifts and dinners appeals to ensure children are kept warm and fed over the festive season.

10 Falkirk Delivers: In an immensely challenging year, the Business Improvement District has supported numerous restaurants, cafes, bars and shops - to name but a few - during the Covid-19 crisis.

11 Camelon Community Hub: The new venture got organised quickly to make sure that no-one in their area went hungry - working with Camelon Juniors Football Club and others to get food to those who needed it.

12 Pamela McCluskey: Hero bus driver was one of the first to react last Bonfire Night when a fire took hold in Kingseat Avenue, Grangemouth. The First Scotland East driver brought her vehicle to a halt after noticing flames coming from a flat and quickly alerted the emergency services.

13 Tamfourhill Community Hub: It has been at the heart of helping the community throughout the crisis and many families will find Christmas a bit easier because of their efforts.

14 Lynsey Ritchie: The mum of four from Denny has been raising awareness of Maggie’s Forth Valley after battling cancer and undergoing a double mastectomy last December.

15 Cameron Shanks: A remarkable man who raised over £5,000 for Maggie's Forth Valley. The former police dog handler from Stenhousemuir delivered the outstanding support despite a

16 Falkirk Council’s dinner ladies (and men): They worked throughout the height of lockdown to make sure the children of key workers and vulnerable families got something to eat every day.

17 The Farids: former Bowhouse shopkeepers, the Farids were honoured by The Queen for their unswerving dedication to the community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, going that extra mile to ensure their customers did not go without.

18 Rory Wilson: Carronshore transplant survivor and former basketball star Rory got married in hospital earlier this year and has been battling for his future survival, travelling down in England to see if he can go through a vital transplant operation.

19 Sandy Simpson: Falkirk Herald gardening guru Sandy did not have his troubles to seek in 2020 with a COVID-19 scare and suffered a heart attack but he still kept writing his entertaining columns.

20 Dunelm: The Falkirk Central Retail Park store has been helping people throughout the year and at the end of 2020 with its Christmas gift shoe box appeal getting toys to those who need them most.

21 Larbert High School staff: At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic teaching staff returned to the locked down school and got busy creating vital PPE for care staff and NHS staff.

22 Liam McGrandles: the Celtic-daft troubadour has been keeping the music alive and raising cash for good causes all year through his popular online shows beamed direct from his home.

23 Cyrenians: the charity based in Falkirk’s Dollar Park, had to close their cafe in Arnotdale House but continued to make fresh, hot meals that were delivered to those most in need.

24 Day-Today: The Stenhousemuir shop has been going that extra mile for customers all year and recently received national recognition for all their good work

25 You: To all the people of Falkirk district who have followed the rules and lived with lockdown, we salute you - and thank you.

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