Young Scot Awards 2022
Presented by the Sunday Mail
On Wednesday 27th April, Kaelyn, Grant and I were fortunate enough to be invited to attend the Young Scot Award 2022 ceremony presented by the Sunday Mail. After a 2 hour journey from Angus to Edinburgh (with very few mishaps on the way which is a first for me so woo hoo!), we arrived at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre dressed to impress as instructed. Some people took this very seriously, dressed to the nines in prom dresses and kilts, while others showed up in a hoodie and jeans (respect). Once we were signed in for the event, we were ushered down the red carpet (yeah, there was a red carpet. Actually, there two red carpets, one at the entrance and one in the main hall where the dinner and awards took place. It was wild) where we took a lovely photo that Grant managed to wriggle out of being in by nominating himself as the photographer. It was a cunning plan that was foiled later in the night when Margo Williamson (a lovely lady sat at our table and the Chief Executive of Angus Council to boot) took a photo of all three of us. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
With the red carpet done, we moved on to enjoy a selection of complimentary mocktails that actually tasted better than what I imagine the alcoholic counterparts would be like. We waited in the foyer before we were allowed to take our seats where we claimed our places at Table 19. (It was a surprisingly good table to be at – lovely company, close to the front and a great view of the stage). It was not long after this that we were introduced to our host, the lovely Gemma Cairney. She was a charismatic and friendly person, and an excellent hostess. She said a few words of introduction before inviting Haleema Khan to the stage. Haleema is a 14-year-old Scot who was one of the judges on the panel for the Young Scot Awards this year. She spoke about how incredibly lucky she felt to be talking to us all and how difficult it was to decide who received the awards as they had hundreds nominations and they were all brilliant!
After Haleema was finished, Gemma took to the podium and told us about how First Bus (one of the sponsors of the event) encouraged young people to vote on the awards, to ensure that young people were celebrated for their achievements. She also gave a shout out to all the 2020/21 finalists who were invited to the award ceremony this year. Because of the restrictions with the pandemic, the awards had to be held virtually in 2020/21 like most things, and although Gemma says how delightful it was to present them with their awards (even through a screen), she was also glad they got to enjoy the in-person treatment of their accomplishments.
With that done, we were then served our lovely three course meal. For a starter, red pepper hummus, chive and garlic crowdie soft cheese, charred broccoli, beetroot dressing and toasted seeds. It looked so fancy and pretty that I didn’t want to eat it, but when I did, it was so good. For a main, we were given butter roast breast of chicken, chorizo, mushroom ketchup (yes, you read that right: mushroom ketchup), cabbage, butter mash (that had been shaped as a beehive) and paprika cream sauce. And to top it all off, a salted caramel cheesecake with vanilla bean cream and a shard of honeycomb was our dessert.
With our bellies full and our appetites sated, Gemma reintroduced us to the awards by saying how immensely inspiring she found it to be surrounded by so many amazing young people. While there were many young people who received their well deserved awards, I wanted to especially talk about two people from Angus who were honoured at the ceremony.
The first award that was given was the Volunteering Award that acknowledged the selfless dedication of young people who help others in their free time. The winner of the award was Friockheim young person James Anderson, who won it on account of his work with Enable Scotland in providing disability and anti-bullying campaign workshops in schools. His work has even taken him to Geneva, where he spoke at a United Nations Convention.
The other local Angus young person who went home with an award that night was Hailey Duff. Hailey is a 25-year-old from Forfar, who joined the GB Women’s curling team for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, winning Olympic Gold! Hailey and Team Muirhead made history when they won gold, being the first curling team to take gold at the Olympics since 2002. She won joint first place for the Sport Award with Neil and Andrew Simpson, who won gold in the 2022 Winter Paralympics.
Many more awards were given out over the course of the night, with every finalist being more than worthy of their spot. I would have loved to have seen it all to the end but due to the long journey we had to make from Edinburgh to Angus and with the dark of night fast approaching, we decided it was best for us to leave after the interval for the awards. Even still, we had an amazing time. It was a much bigger event than I first imagined it would be and I’m really glad I had the opportunity to go. Angus is such a small place that most people tend to forget the amazing accomplishments that local people have achieved, but people like James and Hailey remind us how anyone is capable of stepping up and making an impact on the world. Overall, it was an amazing experience that made me feel like I was in a space dedicated to hearing about how great young people are.
For more about the finalists and the awards, click here