Angus woman nominated for community award

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A community-minded Angus woman has been nominated for an accolade in a sportswomen of the year awards ceremony.

Kirsty Cameron (29), who is from Kirriemuir and has been living in Forfar for the last five years, is one of four contenders for the community award category in The Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year 2016 Awards, which will take place on December 8.

Kirsty Cameron

Kirsty Cameron

Now in its fifth year, the award recognises individuals who have actively engaged with different groups of women within their community through sport.

Kirsty, who works as an administrator in BT’s business contact centre in Dundee’s Telephone House, helped create the Ladies’ Leisurely Cycles Facebook group two years ago with her friend Rhona Guild, from Kirriemuir, to encourage women from the Angus area to get out on their bikes.

When Rhona approached Kirsty about helping organise a ladies’ ride as part of the Angus Cycling Festival in September 2014, Kirsty jumped at the chance and together they created the group.

It has gone from 20 to now more than 230 members in two years.

Kirsty Cameron

Kirsty Cameron

Kirsty is the only Scottish woman to be nominated in the community section, which is one of eight categories for the awards.

She said: “It’s crazy. It doesn’t feel real. I had no idea I was nominated for it.

“I feel really proud to be the only Scottish person nominated.

“It would be amazing to win.”

She was put forward for the award by Join In - an organisation that connects volunteers in the UK with local sports clubs who need their help - and with whom she has volunteered.

Kirsty continued: “A lady journalist from The Sunday Times sent me a Facebook message to say I had been nominated.

‘‘At first I thought it was spam and then she phoned me. I was just shocked.

“The support I have received from friends, my colleagues at work and the ladies at the cycle group is fantastic.

“There are so many worthy people out there other than me.

“Everyone has said they are really happy for me.”

Colleagues describe Kirsty as “an amazing individual.”

Speaking about Ladies’ Leisurely Cycles, she said: “Its so sociable. I enjoy it. I love seeing the ladies progress.

“It takes a lot of courage for someone to a) meet people they have never met before and b) join when you don’t know everyone’s ability or your own. I’m really proud of them all.”

The group of riders, aged from their 20s to their 70s, all regularly enjoy cycling together. It is for cyclists of all abilities.

When Kirsty isn’t organising routes or leading rides, she can be found volunteering at a number of different sports clubs in the community.

She’s been a gymnastics coach for about 12 years and coaches around 120 youngsters at a gymnastics club at Webster’s Sport Centre.

She’s a committee member at the Kirrie Thistle Community Sports Club, runs under-11s girls’ football team Kirrie Thistle Youth FC and she’s organised volunteers for various different events, including Dundee’s Riding for the Disabled club.

In the past two years, Kirsty has helped raise £8000 for charity by taking part in Cancer Research UK’s Relay for Life, a daredevil abseil for Marie Curie; and organised fundraising activities, raffles and donations to support Clic Sargent, Motor Neurone charity MND Scotland, Dundee foodbank and Stand Up 2 Cancer.

Her voluntary work as BT contact centre co-ordinator for Red Nose Day earned her a trip to South Africa to see how the money is changing young lives.

Recently, she arranged for the Scottish Blood Transfusion team to pay a third visit to the Telephone House site so that volunteers can donate blood. More than 80 have already given blood, with around another 40 donating last week.

When asked why she volunteers, Kirsty said: “When you start one thing it just snowballs from there.

“People know I will help them if they come to me.

“I like helping people.”

Vote for Kirsty at: swoty2016.co.uk/vote/community-award.

Voting closes at noon on Monday (November 28).