City Council’s Star Awards held online in groundbreaking ceremony

Aberdeen City Council’s annual staff awards beat the Covid-19 lockdown last night (Thursday 25 June) by becoming the first ceremony of its kind to be held online.

The event, which sees special Star Awards presented to employees who have gone out of their way to serve the citizens of Aberdeen, is normally held at the Beach Ballroom. This year however, the Council broke new ground by holding a ‘virtual’ ceremony.

Most of the filming for the pre-recorded event was done via Microsoft Teams in a short timescale due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Council staff were able to watch the ceremony via the organisation’s intranet from 6.30pm last night and it has also been uploaded onto YouTube for employees who may not have access to the intranet.

This year’s winners were told ahead of the ‘virtual’ event so their reactions on hearing they had won were captured and broadcast during the ceremony.

Judges from the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen Guild of Burgesses, Aberdeen Council for Voluntary Organisations, Robert Gordon University, NHS Grampian, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire & Rescue Service, North East of Scotland College, Aberdeen Sports Village, Sport Aberdeen, Bon Accord Care, Aberdeen Inspired and the Evening Express selected the category winners from 147 nominations submitted by City Council staff.

Angela Scott, Chief Executive, Aberdeen City Council said: “Covid-19 has had a significant impact on all of our lives and large events such as the Star Awards are no different.

“The Star Awards recognise and celebrate the work that is being done across every service in the council to make a real and lasting difference to the individuals, families and communities we serve across the city.

“The winners, finalists and all the nominees, should be very proud as they are a huge credit to the Council and to the city.”

Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “This year’s Star Awards winners are pre-Covid and feature staff from across the many council services and highlight why our staff are second to none.

“The virtual awards ceremony was great fun and testament to our staff’s ‘can do’ attitude to enable us to acknowledge the wonderful work carried out by council staff all year round.”

The Star Awards 2020 winners are:

Rising Star

In recognition of a member of staff who has made a significant impact within in a new role. This could be a young person starting out in their career, an apprentice, or anyone who's recently joined the organisation or moved to a new role.

Winner: David Bartlett (IT apprentice) 

Finalists: Dale McKinnon (ELC Academy) 

Andy Kinghorn (Assistant Operations Manager)


This award is for an individual(s) or teams that have demonstrated excellence in working together to achieve shared goals.

Winner: Alison Murison, head teacher, Aberdeen Grammar School 

Finalists: Sandie Scott, P&O Advisor 

Chargeable Garden Waste Project Team 

Health & Wellbeing

This award recognises people who have made a highly effective contribution to promoting or improving health and wellbeing within Aberdeen City Council or for the people of Aberdeen.

Winner: Project Craster – Norman Adams, Daniel Shand, Laura McAra and all the team involved 

Finalists: Homecheck Team

Countryside Ranger Service (Grove Nursery) 

Inspirational Leadership

In recognition of individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership regardless of grade or role.

Winner: Anna Christie (Westburn Centre) 

Finalists: Kristine Hultman (Waste Strategy Manager) 

Carleen Simpson (ACHSCP) Dominies Road Sensory Garden 


Recognising excellence in innovation to solve a problem or make things better and celebrating people’s commitment to making improvements and reaching measurable outcomes.

Winner: Countryside Ranger Service (Safe use of outdoor fire)

Finalists: Internal Communications Team 

Appointments Project Team 

Pride in Public Service

This award goes to an individual or team in recognition of exceptional service delivery.

Winner: Mark Chalmers (Clerk of Works) 

Finalists: Play Area Team 

Antonio Gonzalez (Cleaning team leader) 

Team of the Year

This award goes to a team which has either achieved outstanding performance and customer satisfaction or worked in a focused and unified way to deliver a desired objective for the organisation or the city.

Winner: Aberdeen Art Gallery (the entire team) 

Finalists: TECA – Project & Programme Team 

Tillydrone Community Campus 

Long Service Awards – 40 years of service to Aberdeen City Council

  • Alan Gray – senior gardener
  • Derek Ledingham – janitor
  • Steven McRae – technician
  • Brenda Reid – design technician
  • Graham Stubbins – finance partner
  • Gail Brechin – technology analyst
  • James Simpson – technician
  • Stuart Lyon – gardener
  • David Simmers – refuge loader
  • Kenneth Mutch – road operative
  • Dennis Duncan – painter
  • James Coutts – engineer
  • Douglas Gibb – team leader
  • Mary Booth – cleaning keyholder
  • Susan Allan – teacher
  • Brian Angus – depute head teacher  

In previous years the Star Awards ceremonies have provided an opportunity to raise money for a local charity by way of a staff raffle with attendees at each table invited to donate with the chance of winning their very own replica “Kelly’s Cat”.

The original cats surmounted iron balustrades and were made in 1905 by William Banbury to designs by William Kelly. The design for the cats was inspired by the leopards in the City of Aberdeen’s Coat of Arms.

As this year’s award ceremony is taking place online it is hoped that even more council staff will donate to this year’s charity Charlie House via a special JustGiving page. Council staff will have until 8pm on Saturday 25 July 2020 to donate to this worthy cause. Only employees of Aberdeen City Council will be entered into the draw.

The ever popular “Kelly’s Cats” are created by the team at Duthie Park and are available to purchase at £40 each. For more information email wintergardens@aberdeencity.gov.uk or telephone 01224 346421/346422.

While the Star Awards team have been able to work remotely to organise and host this year’s event online they took the decision at the start of lockdown to temporarily remove the People’s Champion category. It will, however return next year.