Volunteer Cathie named regional hero

Cathie Duncan, centre, said it was an honour to be joined by Margaret Wallace, left, and members of the Monday Social Club when Steve Byrne, right, presented her with her Regional Hero Award.
Cathie Duncan, centre, said it was an honour to be joined by Margaret Wallace, left, and members of the Monday Social Club when Steve Byrne, right, presented her with her Regional Hero Award.

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Campbeltown woman Cathie Duncan is well known in the community for her decades of voluntary work but now it has been recognised by Argyll and Bute Volunteer of the Year Awards.

Up against more than 80 nominees across the awards’ 11 categories, Cathie was one of just five people to scoop a Regional Hero Award.

Cathie won the accolade for the Mid Argyll and Kintyre area, while the other regional awards were won by: Helensburgh and Lomond: Sarah Davies; Cowal and Bute: Fiona Gillespie; The Islands: Patrick John McGrann; and Oban and Lorn: Helen Pearson.

Argyll and Bute Third Sector Interface (TSI), in partnership with liveArgyll and the region’s health and social care partnership (HSCP), held this year’s awards in person, at Dunoon’s Queen’s Hall, earlier this month, after hosting the ceremony online last year due to Covid restrictions.

Cathie was unable to attend the ceremony so her award was presented to her by Steve Byrne, who nominated her, at this week’s meeting of the Monday Social Club.

Cathie Duncan picked up the Regional Hero Award for Mid Argyll and Kintyre at this year's Argyll and Bute Volunteer of the Year Awards
Cathie Duncan picked up the Regional Hero Award for Mid Argyll and Kintyre at this year’s Argyll and Bute Volunteer of the Year Awards

They were joined by Margaret Wallace, who works as a third sector support advisor for the TSI.

Steve, who won last year’s Regional Hero Award for Kintyre, cites Cathie as his inspiration for getting involved with voluntary work.

In his nomination, he wrote: ‘Cathie has been helping the people of Campbeltown as long as anyone can remember. It is difficult to say what her legacy will be; the senior citizens’ Monday Social Club, which Cathie started, must be a frontrunner.

‘Cathie was also a founder member of Dalintober and Millknowe Tenants and Residents Association and is currently chair. She has also been a community councillor for many years, is a founder member of Kintyre Crime Prevention Panel, a MAKI member and a Community Care Forum member.

‘Cathie often helps others quietly, without any fuss. Cathie organised many tea dances for senior citizens. There have been so many groups Cathie has worked with it would take pages to detail.’

When presented with her award, Cathie said: ‘I don’t know what to say – I’m stuck for words! I can only thank you very, very much, Steve. A big thank you to yourself, all the members of the Monday Social Club and to Margaret, who is a very good guest at everything I’m involved with.

‘It’s lovely to get a nice surprise and it’s a big honour. To have it presented to me on a Monday with a few members of my club is an honour as well.

‘Thank you very much to anyone else who was involved.’

Margaret said: ‘One of the lovely aspects of working with Cathie in whatever context you do is that she becomes your friend.

‘I speak for us all here, I’m sure, when I say to Cathie that we value that friendship so, so much.’

The judging panel, made up of representatives from the TSI, liveArgyll, the HSCP and the council, was tasked with reading the nominations and scoring them according to each awards criteria, before collating the scores and agreeing the final outcomes in each category.

The winners of the other awards were: liveArgyll Volunteer Sports Coach Award: Doreen MacDonald (Cowal); liveArgyll Volunteer Young Sports Coach Award: Jack Davies (Cowal); Health and Wellbeing Volunteer of the Year: June Bleazard (Oban); Young Volunteer of the Year Award: Robert MacInnes (Oban); Volunteer of the Year Award: Diarmid MacMillan (Oban); Lifetime Achievement Award: Sandy Brunton (Mull).

An awards spokesperson said: ‘Argyll and Bute TSI, liveArgyll and the HSCP would like to say a big congratulations to all winners and those who contributed to making the event a success and look forward to making the event bigger and better next year.’