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Keith Grammar pupils scoop Moray Young Citizen awards

By Alistair Whitfield

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Keith Grammar's kind-hearted pupils have succeeded in dominating this year's Moray Young Citizen Awards.

Both the joint winners come from the school.

Keith Grammar schools pupils Lucy Mark, Katie Dunbar and Cassie Findlay won awards at Moray Young Citizens of The Year...Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Keith Grammar schools pupils Lucy Mark, Katie Dunbar and Cassie Findlay won awards at Moray Young Citizens of The Year...Picture: Becky Saunderson..

What's more, the judging panel have also picked out two other Keith pupils for their tireless community work over the past 12 month.

Sharing the title of Moray Young Citizen of the Year are Keith Grammar sixth former Doddie Simmers and fifth former Cassie Findlay.

Cassie said she was surprised but honoured by the award, which was in recognition of her musical and sporting work.

The 16-year-old, who plays both fiddle and the pipes, has been a regular visitor to care homes during lockdown and beyond with Country Quines, the traditional band she plays in with friends.

Cassie said: "It was freezing sometimes playing outside, but it was great too.

"I think it was really appreciated by the old folk."

On top of that, Cassie helps out by regularly coaching hockey to local primary-age kids, as well as something called 'junior jog'.

Cassie explained: "It's not so much running as a series of games that we play which involve running about.

"It's a fun way to help get young children more active."

The other joint winner, Doddie Simmers, is also a very good musician who is active in the community, playing at charity events.

Doddie Simmers is a talented musician.
Doddie Simmers is a talented musician.

The 17-year-old took up the guitar nearly a decade ago and is a member of the Strathspey Fiddlers.

On top of that, he also plays the bagpipes with the Strathisla Pipe Band.

Doddie said: "I love music. It's just great fun to play in a group with other people.

"It's very nice to receive an award for doing something you enjoy anyway."

Cassie's friend and fellow year five student, Katie Dunbar, was one of just two pupils from across Moray to receive a 'highly commended' from the judges.

Katie and Cassie together helped to set up the school's sports committee.

A Highland Dancer for almost as long as she can remember – she started lessons when she was aged two – Katie now gives regular classes to youngsters herself.

A fourth Keith Grammar School pupil, 13-year-old Lucy Mark was one of eight pupils from across Moray to gain a commended award.

A keen footballer who plays as a defender, Lucy coaches the game to local youngsters.

In addition, she also raised more than £100 last Christmas for MFR's Cash for Kids appeal in order to buy presents for disadvantaged children.

The Moray Young Citizen Awards are supported by Moray Council, Diageo, Police Scotland and Elgin Rotary Club.

The winners were announced via a virtual ceremony premiered online.

Moray Council’s Head of Education, Vivienne Cross, said the stories behind the finalists were "inspirational".

She added: "As always, the judging panel had a tough job reading through all the deserving and inspirational nominations to pick our finalists.

"The high quality of nominations showed just how much effort our young people have put in to keeping their communities going, particularly throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I’m extremely proud of all children and young people across Moray for their commitment and dedication to their schools and communities during a time of great uncertainty for us all.

"All the finalists have shown great resilience and are to be congratulated for their efforts, and the joint winners of Moray’s Young Citizen of the Year 2021 have my admiration and respect for all they’ve contributed to their communities."

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