Meet the #YSAwards 2022 Finalists

We are thrilled to reveal the extraordinary young finalists in this year’s Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards 2022.

The Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards 2022 event is taking place on Wednesday 27th April 2022.

Plus there'll be entertainment from a few special guests! 

Have a look at our amazing finalists below. 

Unsung Hero

Sponsored by Solace Scotland

Denisha Killoh, 23, Glasgow

Denisha leads the Scottish Government funded National Childhood Bereavement Project delivered by Includem. At 14, Denisha's mum died of lung cancer, ever since she has worked to honour her mum’s legacy. As a LGBT+ woman of colour, Denisha has channelled her experiences of discrimination into roles that give underrepresented communities a voice. At the age of 19, she became one of the youngest ever chairs of a national review, as Stigma Co-Chair at the Independent Care Review.

Katie Watson, 18, South Ayrshire

Katie was inspired to become a nurse due to the care she received. At age 14, she had been diagnosed with Myeloid Leukaemia but was able to find inspiration in an extremely challenging situation. With the help of the nurses during her care, she is now studying nursing at university and hopes to become a nurse like the ones who helped her.

Lochlan Murdoch, 13, East Ayrshire

Lochlan has inspired those around him by setting up his own charity. He has raised £10,500, which went to the JDRF and Kris Boyd charity for mental health. Since then, he has set up Lochlan’s legacy, a charity dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of type 1 diabetes.

Young Hero

Sponsored by XSite Braehead

Mirren Empson, 14, Kincardine

Mirren helped get 15 children off a school bus safely after noticing smoke and alerting the driver who was able to evacuate everyone on board. 

Lucy Stewart, 11, Elgin

Lucy helped raise more money for The Archie Foundation after a charity bucket she was collecting with was stolen outside her home. She has lived with the rare conditions Tracheo-oesphageal Fistula and Esophageal Atresiaher whole life and gets support from the charity during her visits to Royal Aberdeen's Children's Hospital.

Connor Telford, 17, Dundee

Connor helped save a dog from a lake while he was on a walk on holiday in the Penllergare Valley Woods in Swansea. Owner Jane Warner was reunited with her dog Charlie thanks to Connor, who helped after the dog got caught in some reeds and was having difficulty swimming.

Enhancing Education

Sponsored by Skills Development Scotland

Sameeha Rehman, 22, North Lanarkshire

Sameeha started her own social enterprise, Ubuntu Scotland at the age of 21. The organisation is determined to put the power into the hands of young people in education.

The Scottish Crannog Centre Apprentices, Perth & Kinross

Will, Izzie, Georgia, Daisy and Toby are apprentices who have helped more people engage with museums within the community. They have been on site everyday since August 2020, giving interpretations, tours and interacting with more than 20,000 visitors, working towards an accredited Scottish Vocational Qualification.

Ruth Williams, 16, West Lothian.

Ruth has been volunteering with Carers Trust Scotland since 2020 and actively seeks out opportunities to advocate for young carers at both a local and national level.


Sponsored by First Bus

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Youth Committee, 16, Stirling.

Members of the committee, Catriona Manders and Aiden Cronin have been amazing youth climate ambassadors for all protected landscapes around the world. During COP26, they were passionate advocates speaking up for global youth to make sure young voices were heard in the need to take action to address the climate emergency.

Murdo MacGillivray, 18, Highlands

Murdo is a true champion for the environment with his support of the RSPB, love of the outdoors, interests and crofting lifestyle. From helping with the RSPB’s work on corncakes at only seven years old, he sees the value of maintaining and improving the environment that he is surrounded by, creating content and using social media to inspire others.

Mhairi McCann, 22, Inverclyde

Mhairi is the founder and CEO of Youth STEM 2030. It is an organisation with the vision to empower youth to use science, technology, engineering and maths to change the world. She has a strong belief in the positive difference young people can make to our world. And for her work, she was named one of the UK’s Top 50 Women in Sustainability in 2020.


Fusion, 19 and 16, Renfrewshire and Edinburgh

Jordan Stewart and Amaranta Laing created Fusion to use their artistic talents to amplify young people in Scotland. Working with Children First, they are bringing a young person’s song to life to change and influence the justice system for victims and witnesses of crimes.

Rhys Gilchrist, 26, Edinburgh

Musician Rhys is making a huge difference to young people in Edinburgh. He encourages young people to express themselves through music. Through his work with Tinderbox Collective, he facilitates music sessions at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children to bring joy to children who are going through difficult times.

Len Pennie, 21, Fife 

She is a staunch advocate of destigmatising mental health, promoting equality for women, and the freedom of expression in the Scots language.


Sponsored by sportscotland

Hailey Duff, 25, Angus

Curling superstar Hailey was part of the British Women’s curling team which won Olympic Gold at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Team Muirhead claimed their prize by beating Japan 10-3. Despite it being her first time, Hailey and her team made history by taking Team GB's first curling gold since 2002.

Chloe Grant, 15, Perth

Chloe turned her passion for racing into a stunning record of success. She's been racing from a young age starting from go-karting and finding a true love for sport. In 2020 at 14 years old, Chloe won the Junior Saloon Car Championship scholarship competition.

Millie Boo Smith, 15, Stirling

Millie has shown an outstanding commitment to riding. She was awarded the RDA (Riding for the Disabled) Participant of the Year in 2021. She was born with cerebral palsy, but never let that affect her passion, going above and beyond to improve her skills, all whilst inspiring others along the way.

Neil and Andrew Simpson, 19 & 21, Aberdeenshire

Neil and Andrew Simpson delivered a stunning result at the 2022 Winter Paralympics, becoming the first British men in history to win gold on snow. Neil, who competed in the Super G vision impaired class, took to the slopes with his brother Andrew as his guide. They have achieved impressive results before. Winning gold in the slalom and bronze in the giant slalom at the 2018 Para Alpine World Cup. They also won Silver at the 2021 World Para Snow Sports Championships. Having skied since they were four years old, this gold medal is a testament to their years of hard work.


Sponsored by Scottish Government

Amy Shearer, 23, Inverclyde

She has been volunteering in the community since she was 14 years old, and during that time she has helped countless good causes and raised more that £20,000 for charities.

Soap, 21-23, Dunoon

The big-hearted cover band raised more that £13,000 to help worthy causes in Dunoon through Stay Fresh Fest in 2018. The trio, which includes Kenny McLay, Callum Newall and Lewis McCorquodale wanted to give back to the close-knit community which supported them. They held a music festival to raise funds and showcase local talent.

STARR, Glasgow

They work tirelessly to improve the lives of children who are in or on the edges of secure care in Scotland. Founded in March 2018, STARR is Scotland’s only curated space for secure care-experienced children, young people and adults.


Paul Black, 25, Glasgow

Paul is a comedian who shot to success on TikTok with his witty videos, reaching 187,000 followers and more than 6m likes. He quickly became an internet sensation over the last 12 months with his viral videos, and continues to put a smile on everyone’s face.

Erin Armstrong, 26, Paisley

As well as being a successful actor, Erin is a full qualified primary school teacher who spent much of last year juggling both of her careers. After landing her first successful role in hit crime drama Shetland in 2013, she has continued to build her career. She is known as Erin Armstrong the actor and singer but Miss Armstrong to her students, inspiring many with her talents.

Aaron Smith, 25, Stirling

Singer Aaron has gone from busking on the streets of Falkirk to partying with Justin Bieber in LA. Hoping to inspire young people, Aaron, who has struggled with alcohol and depression, now talks openly about his mental health and overcoming his challenges.

Health and Wellbeing

Sponsored by Scottish Water

Hadia Aslam, 24, East Lothian

A nurse who has been using social media to help others. In August 2020, she started TikTok and Instagram accounts dedicated to chronicling her own experiences with mental health, and educating others.

Fergus Crawley, 25, Edinburgh

Fergus is a personal trainer who has become a crusader for mental health. He decided to open up about his mental health after struggling with it for years and this soon turned into a project to help young men open up too.

Wellbeing Warriors, 13-24, West Dunbartonshire

This group has been fighting the effects of the pandemic on mental and physical health. They were formed with the purpose of giving young people a chance to take part in activities that kept them physically and mentally refreshed and helped them thrive during the difficult time.


Lucy Fisher, 25, Aberdeenshire

Lucy has taken a childhood passion for knitting and turned it into a business, Knit It. Lucy's gran taught her to knit, a skill that has been passed down for generations. Lucy realised the true value of preserving the art of knitting and sought to make it more accessible and understandable.

Arran McManus, 11, Midlothian

Arran runs Arran’s Soap Box where he makes vegan soap, bath bombs and muscle and foot soak. Starting with a simple kit he was gifted, he has managed to gain popularity by gifting soaps to friends and family. Now he sells them, giving him confidence in his entrepreneurial spirit and he hopes to continue long into the future.

Harry Melsom, 17, Aberdeenshire

Harry started his own survey and photography business after developing his skills as a drone pilot. Harry has achieved his official drone pilot’s licence and is now working towards a microlight pilot’s licence to offer more services. He is a great role model to others with his impressive entrepreneurial skills and determination to succeed.

Equality & Diversity

Sponsored by Arnold Clark

Heritage and Scotland: Designing and Telling Inclusive Stories, 19-25, Stirling, Aberdeen & Glasgow

This group of eight young people supported by The Arts and Humanities Research Council are working with heritage organisations and museums across Scotland to share stories that highlight unexplored areas of heritage. Drawn from both the Roma community and diverse minority ethnic backgrounds, the placements are developing approaches and resources that are highlighting young voices from racialised communities, and inspiring change in how heritage is shared.

LGBT Champions, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

The first ever LGBT group at Castlebay School has been speaking up for fairness and equality. The group work with students and staff to find out about student experiences of discrimination and inequality. They figure out how to tackle these issues to help make Castlebay a safe place for everyone.

Whatever Next?, 21-26, Lothian

Three young people have started up a project to educate others on life as an adoptee. Addie, Hannah and Jo set up Whatever Next? It is a multi-media platform that explores their experience as Chinese adoptees, and adoptees in general. Their work has won them the Creative Edinburgh Student Award in 2021.


James Anderson, 18, Angus

James has worked with Enable Scotland for years. They are a charity who fight to amplify the voices of people with learning disabilities. He has delivered disability and anti-bullying workshops to schools and youth organisations. His activism has taken him to Geneva, speaking to a United Nations conference.

Connor Muir, 21, Leith

Connor has spent years volunteering and making a difference in his community. Taking part in the Citadel Youth Centre’s Young Volunteers program at age 15, Connor was eager to assist the different clubs and programmes the centre offered. At 16, Connor became a fully-fledged volunteer and started running the intergenerational cafe New Spin.

Freya Taylor, 17, Highlands

At 17, Freya already takes part in a huge range of work to help others with more than 700 hours of volunteering. One of Freya’s projects was to raise funds to ship clothes to refugees in need. She achieved this through a sponsored silence, as well as hosting a 24-hour ceilidh. Her efforts raised more than £3,000 for refugees.

Head back to the Young Scot Awards page.