Community Champions shine for The Gathering!


On Sat 5th November, communities from across the National Park came to honour and acknowledge the amazing individuals and groups within the Park who have contributed greatly to the development and enhancement of their communities.

The annual awards ceremony which took place at the Buchanan Arms Hotel in Drymen, was part of  The Gathering, a whole day’s programme exploring the theme of ‘Arts & Innovation in the Park’ to celebrate the year of innovation, architecture and design, and to discover how communities can profit from their creativity.

Delighted to be making the presentations to this year’s winners and runners up was the Community Partnership Chair, Celia Burn!

Long Standing Champion – In recognition of a community member who has shown an on-going and sustained commitment to supporting community life in their area.

p1040694Winner – Elizabeth Bain With four nominations, the judges could not ignore Elizabeth’s commitment to the Lochgoil community! Over the last 20 years, Elizabeth has worked tirelessly and continues to be a part 0f eight separate committees and boards either as Treasurer or Director. Elizabeth has also taken the lead and supported others in a number of projects including the Loch Goil Hydro Scheme, whilst organising and running the annual Feis in the village for children throughout Cowal introducing them to playing traditional music, the Gaelic language and outdoor pursuits. Meal do naidheachd Elizabeth!!


Highly Commended – Marian Norris

Motivated, diplomatic, team spirited, and professional were just some of the words used to sum up Marian who’s passion for village issues and her personal interests shine through.  Since moving to Ardentinny in 1985 Marian has not let retirement slow her down as she took over as Convener of Ardentinny Community Council and as part of Ardentinny Conservation & Heritage Group took on the abandoned nature trail by working hard to ensure this facility was retained.  The Community Partnership totally agree; every village should have a ‘Marian’!


Highly Commended – Melanie Tonks

Unbeknown to ‘Mel’ the Arrochar community made this nomination by way of saying a huge thank you for her loyal commitment and incredible service to their local community café.  Mel who has been instrumental in improving the standards and profitability of their local café, has been the driving force behind keeping community interest going, investing her time voluntarily. The café provides a much needed employment to the village and so helps to fulfil some of the aims and objectives of the community development trust. Well done Mel!!

Rising Champion – In recognition of a community member who is relatively new to voluntary work in their community and has demonstrated their potential for their skills to grow. This category is open to all ages.

p1040698Winner – Lynne Schroder

In a few short years of moving to Callander, Lynne made a remarkable contribution to the  community through her passion for art & creativity. Committed to community art, Lynne firmly believes in the power of art to create community pride.  As a founder member of Creative in Callander in 2013 it provides a supportive network & retail outlet for artists and crafters in Callander and surrounding area. Lynn is also involved with the Callander Summerfest organising art exhibitions and activities. Without her endless stream of new ideas to get locals and visitors involved would not be possible. A well deserved winner!

Young Artist of the Year – In recognition of a young person who has demonstrated a follat-logocommitment to supporting their community through any art form (musician, poet, visual arts etc).  Our judges were overwhelmed by both nominations and therefore decided to make them joint winners! Thank you to the Friends who have sponsored this award.

Callum Hall receiving his award presented by Chair Celia Burn accompanied by McLaren High Schools Head Teacher, Marc Fleming

Joint Winner – Callum Hall – A keen piper and the Head Boy of McLaren High School in Callander, Callum started the school’s pipe band over a year ago and encourages younger pupils to join. With their first public appearance in 2015 they led a march re-enacting the school’s move to its present site 50 years ago.  Callum who is the bands trainer, fundraiser and booking agent manages these responsibilities alongside his school duties and studies and has secured the band’s future for when he eventually leaves school. The pipe band who have now played at 2 Callander Summerfests, the Strathyre Music Festival, Skiddadle Sports events and Callander Highland Games as well as the November Armistice service are available for local events. Callum the band is a great community asset and you have demonstrated that you are a truly outstanding young man! Well done!


Joint Winner – Craig Fingland (main picture) – Starting up a small business when you are still in the sixth form is certainly something to be proud of, and that is exactly what Craig who attends McLaren High School with some support from his younger brother Lachie just did! Set up in their garage and making bespoke items from clocks to candles by hand, Potting Shed Crafts recently started wood turning and sell to local retail outlets in the Cross Street Gallery and Venachar Lochside whilst attending local art exhibitions and craft fairs. Craig was recently commissioned by MacQueens Gin to design a plinth for their whole gin range which can now be seen in most licenced premises in Callander. An aspiring engineer who has been described as creative, an entrepreneur and problem solver, we raise a glass to Craig!

Champion Community 2016 – This award is in recognition of a ‘community’ which has shown innovation, commitment and a community approach to improving the life for those who live in, work in and visit the National Park.


Winners – Walk in the Park Volunteer Walk Leaders walk-in-the-park-logo

Walk in the Park is a project which delivers health walks in the beautiful and nurturing surroundings of the national park. Helping to provide a supportive and safe environment for people recovering from illness or those who have experienced long periods of inactivity are the 33 volunteer walk leaders who are crucial to the success of the project and walks taking place. Through rain and shine, these volunteers give up their time to support others in their community to become more active and meet new people.  To find out about a Health Walk taking place in Callander, Aberfoyle, Killin or Balloch visit http://trustinthepark.org/walk-in-the-park/

And a final word of encouragement from the Community Partnerships Chair, Celia Burn …

“At this year’s Gathering we were once again able to celebrate the achievements of some of the people who work so hard in their communities to make a difference with our Community Champion Awards. As I stand down as Chair of the Partnership it is very rewarding to see how many people contribute time, energy and commitment to their communities across the National Park.”