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Highland Heroes 2024: Carer shortlist revealed – VOTE NOW!


By Leah Williamson

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Here is the shortlist for carer of the year...

Aoife Lyall

Aoife Lyall
Aoife Lyall

“Stunning strength and selflessness”, coupled with “humbling kindness”, has led to Inverness-based poet and carer Aoife Lyall being shortlisted for a Highland Heroes Carer of the Year award.

Aoife’s husband suffers from a chronic illness, prompting Aoife to step into the role of carer as well as writer and mother to their two young children.

Her nomination said: “The illness has impacted their family life, emotionally and financially, and throughout it all Aoife has shown astonishing kindness, empathy and compassion in restructuring her life and sacrificing her time and energy to care for the people she loves.”

Aoife said: “I really appreciate somebody thinking of my family in this way. We’re continuing to learn so much about ourselves and the meaning of friendship.

“I am so grateful to the friends who have shown up time and again to support us: who have walked away from their full trolleys in the supermarket or abandoned work meetings and who I know will always answer their phone when I call. Those relationships make all the difference, helping me to do what I need to do for my family. I’m really touched to have been nominated.”

Melanie Oliver-McCormick

Melanie Oliver-McCormick
Melanie Oliver-McCormick

A Tain-based woman who ‘never stops caring’ has been shortlisted for a Highland Heroes Carer of the Year award.

Melanie Oliver-McCormick has worked in the care sector for 19 years and supports her husband Martyn, who suffers from multiple sclerosis.

Her nomination said: “You can see how much Melanie loves her job. She works so hard as well as looking after her two children and caring for her husband. She deserves to be recognised for all that she does. She really is the best carer.”

Melanie, who is based at Innis Mhor (Parklands Care Homes) said: “At school I chose a care home as my work experience placement and I never looked back. I’m a deputy manager now and I am just over the moon to be able to make a difference through care work. I know how much it positively impacts them and their family.”

She continued: “It’s so lovely and shocking to have been nominated. It’s quite emotional for me because I really don’t think of my work in that way, it’s just in my nature to do it and I love it.”

Savannah Kelly & Kelly Macrae

Savannah Kelly and Kelly Macrae
Savannah Kelly and Kelly Macrae

An Inverness teenager and her mum have been jointly nominated for a Highland Heroes Carer of the Year award.

Thirteen-year-old Savannah Kelly’s younger sister, Amelia, has severe complex needs and spends significant amounts of time in Raigmore Hospital. In 2019 Amelia had seven operations.

Their nomination said: “Savannah never moans about helping with her wee sister or having to spend so much time at the hospital. Recently Savannah noticed that Amelia, aged nine, was having a seizure; she stayed calm and was quick to raise the alarm which meant Amelia’s seizure was treated quickly.”

Savannah also raised more than £1,200 and bought toys for the children’s ward and for the siblings of all the children who were in Raigmore Hospital over Christmas.

Kelly Macrae, who is mum to five children, said: “There is so much love between Savannah and Amelia. Savannah’s needs often have to come after Amelia’s but she is a carer hero. I wish neither of them had to experience illness or the knock-on effects. We’re thrilled to have been nominated; kind words make the tough times a little easier. We’re very proud of our family and how we cope with Amelia’s health challenges.”

Kelly has also been nominated for a Highland Heroes Fundraiser of the Year award.

Parklands Care Homes is sponsoring the carer award.

Ron Taylor, managing director of Parklands Care Homes said: “Parklands is proud to support the Highland Heroes awards. Parklands has been caring in the north of Scotland for 30 years. We know that right across the region there are people selflessly caring for others, often unpaid and unrecognised. As a former carer myself, I know how challenging and lonely it can sometimes be, so it’s important that those who provide care are recognised and celebrated. The Highland Heroes carer of the year award is the perfect opportunity to show our support for carers across the Highlands, and I’d encourage anyone who knows someone who cares for others to vote for them. Together, let's give these heroes the recognition they truly deserve.”

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