Cheery Ronnie chosen as local hero at awards

The regional volunteering hero for the Mid Argyll area was Ronnie Johnstone from Tarbert.

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Volunteers from across the region put on their best bib, tucker and PJ bottoms for the online Argyll and Bute TSI Volunteer of the Year Awards.

Winning the Mid Argyll Regional honours was Ronnie Johnstone, whose work for the Tarbert Soup Group is legendary.

Ronnie was nominated by Heather Bellshaw as throughout the lockdown and beyond he delivered lunches to elderly people twice a week as well as sorting and delivering food boxes, driving the van around rural areas and supporting those in need.

This was always done with a cheery and positive attitude, a smile and a chat or a wave from the van.

‘He really worked hard and gave everything his all,’ said Heather.

The Regional Hero awards were split into six areas – Helensburgh and Lomond, Cowal and Bute, the Islands, Mid Argyll, Oban and Lorn and Kintyre.

‘We received 78 nominations across the nine categories for the Volunteer of the Year awards and judges had a tough time selecting the winners as the standard has been exceptionally high,’ said Takki Sulaiman, CEO of Argyll and Bute Third Sector Interface, at the event on Friday July 16

‘We are lucky that in Argyll and Bute there is a strong culture of volunteering and during the past 18 months our communities benefitted from an increase in those coming forward as demand soared.

‘These awards provide a platform for acknowledging the important contribution of all volunteers and not just those who were lucky enough to win.’

Jenni Minto, MSP for Argyll and Bute, was one of the guest speakers on the night. She said: ‘It was a real privilege to speak at the Argyll and Bute TSI Awards.

‘Volunteering has always been at the heart of how our communities work.

‘Before the pandemic a quarter of people in Argyll and Bute formally volunteered – with many, many more providing hours and hours of unrecorded volunteering.

‘We need to keep this volunteering spirit going, capture it, rejuvenate it and celebrate it.’

Also speaking on the night were Ishbel Smith, founder of Heart in Mouth and
trustee of Mary’s Meals; chair of liveArgyll Andrew Nisbet; and Pete
McDill, chair of Argyll and Bute TSI.


Awards list in full

Covid Volunteer: Lily Davies and Lois Cook (Dunoon)

Helensburgh and Lomond Regional Hero: Fraser Gildea

Cowal and Bute Regional Hero: Lesley Slaven (Dunoon)

Islands Regional Hero: Kevin Byrne (Mull)

Mid Argyll Regional Hero: Ronnie Johnstone (Tarbert)

Oban and Lorn Regional Hero: Alan Macdougall (Oban)

Kintyre Regional Hero: Steve Byrne (Campbeltown)

Volunteer Sports Coach of the Year (over 25): Simon Kershaw Yates (Helensburgh)

Volunteer Young Sports Coach of the Year (12-25): Poppy MacKillop and Isla MacGillivray (Oban)

Young Primary Sports Leader of the Year: Faraid Winterton (Dunbeg)

Community Sporting Hero: Adventure Oban

Young Volunteer of the Year (under 25): Aiden Macleod (Oban)

Volunteer of the Year (over 25): Mary McGinley (Helensburgh)

Lifetime Achievement: Colin Morrison (Mull)