BEING a carer so often means sacrificing your own time and interests for the sake of a loved one, whether it be a partner, parent, sibling or even a child.
The new Moray & Banffshire Heroes awards, run by SPP Media, is giving readers an opportunity to recognise those who have made a significant personal sacrifice to help tend to someone's needs.
The carer of the year category, sponsored by Excel Scotland, is open for nominations from across the area – from Banff to Glenlivet, Huntly to Forres. And Gayle Verner, director of the bespoke house building firm, hopes readers will take the opportunity to put hard working carers forward for the award.
She said: "When I was 17 I worked part-time as a carer at Meadowlark Care Centre in Forres so I know a bit about what the role of a carer involves. They go through a lot and quite often it's on top of holding down a job or bringing up a family. Carers are the unsung heroes.
"At Excel Scotland, it's our pleasure to sponsor the carer category for the 2019 Moray & Banffshire Heroes awards – recognition where it's deserved for the real champions of our community."
Excel Scotland is owned by husband and wife team Gerry and Gayle Verner. The company is currently based in Kinloss but is moving into new premises in Elgin in May and opening a new branch in Aberdeen.
The firm specialises in giving clients the home of their dreams without any of the stress of a self-build.
Gayle explained: "We offer a turnkey service so we project manage the whole build through to completion and within the client's budget."
Another sponsor of the Moray & Banffshire Heroes award is Aberlour Children's Charity, which provides vital support services in the Moray community and nationwide.
Beverley Hart has met plenty of brave children in her role as assistant director of operations, so when the opportunity arose to sponsor the brave child category, it made sense for Aberlour to get involved.
"Sponsoring the brave child category is a real honour, and couldn't be more apt," she said. "We have worked with some of the most vulnerable and marginalised children and their families in Moray, and every one of the children we engage with is a hero to us."
Aberlour Children's Charity operates three support services in the Moray community:
• Youthpoint Moray works alongside young people and their families to strengthen relationships and provide opportunities to have fun, build resilience, develop skills and gain awards which recognises their achievements.
• Aberlour Options Moray works alongside children, young people and their parents/carers to support the challenge of providing 24/7 care to children who have complex disabilities and/or autism.
• Aberlour Fostering North provides caring family-based environments for children and young people who cannot be cared for by their birth families.
Beverley said: "I am always humbled by the bravery of our children in Moray, who live with and overcome the impact of extreme adversity and show exceptional bravery and courage – whether they are a child living with a disability, a life limiting illness, or a young person facing life's challenges at a young age.
"We hope lots of people nominate their brave children, as we know there are so many of them in Moray and would love to acknowledge and celebrate their bravery and courage with them."