STEVIE PRAISES CARING COMPATRIOTS
Stevie collects award, above. Below, in Ukraine colours and in royal box at Tattoo
I’ll never forget when they all came on to stage at the awardskids Stevie Carr
Pride of Scotland winner Stevie Carr has returned to the Ukraine for the first time since he rescued 56 orphans from the warravaged city of Dnipro in March last year.
The dad of three, who broke down in tears when some of the children he helped evacuate surprised him on stage at our awards, warned the situation in the city is as dire as ever.
14 more than 40 people, including six children, were killed when a Russian rocket smashed into a nine-storey apartment block in a residential area of Dnipro.
Today, as we launch our search for our unsung heroes of 2023, Stevie, who spent three days in the city visiting orphans supported by his charity Dnipro Kids, tells how it has fallen quiet, with buildings obliterated by missiles and air raid sirens ringing out day and night.
The 57-year-old from Perth, who won our Special Recognition Award at a glittering ceremony, said: “It’s heartbreaking to see the once bustling city so quiet and on alert. There are ruined buildings everywhere and armed soldiers on the streets.
“There are no trams or trolley buses, the electricity regularly cuts out and the air raid sirens go off all the time warning of rocket attacks. Two missiles hit the city this night last week.
“Fortunately they didn’t cause as much damage as the attack a few weeks ago. It was right next to an aqua park we used to take our kids to.
“People in Dnipro are trying to get on with the rest of their lives. The vast majority are still trying to keep some semblance of normality.”
Hibs fan Stevie, who set up the charity to help the city’s orphans in 2005, added: “I went back to Dnipro because we’ve one orphanage we support that never got evacuated so I needed to visit.
“The kids here all got Christmas presents so I wanted to make sure they got something too and let them know … we haven’t forgotten about them.
“Ukraine is not on the news as much but the situation out there is still horrific. The people and the children still need our support.
“The number of orphans is growing by the day and we are trying to help as many as we can but can only do so much.”
Dnipro Kids was born after Hibs played Ukrainian side Dnipro in the Uefa Cup in 2005. Travelling fans held a collection for a local orphanage and maintained links after returning home, founding the charity and setting up a sponsorship scheme for orphans.
After the Russian invasion began last February, Stevie rescued children from five orphanages, bussing them into Poland before bringing them to Scotland.
Thanks to money raised by the charity and the help of communities, the kids have been living in the Edinburgh area with Ukrainian house mothers and fathers.
Electrical engineer Stevie said: “The children have been here now for nearly a year and they are loving it and thriving. They tell me how friendly people are.
Scotland should be very proud of the welcome it has given the children.
“The kids have enjoyed adventures including a trip to London and outings to watch Hibs. A highlight was when the First Minister invited them to watch the Edinburgh Military Tattoo with her in the royal box.”
The charity chief added: “I never imagined attending a football match years ago would change my life forever.
“I’ve had so many amazing moments but one that will stay with me is when they all came on to the stage at the Pride of Scotland Awards.
“I had to choke back my tears as it hit me what our charity had done for them and how much they have changed my life for the better.”
Today, as we launch nominations for this year’s awards we want to hear about others, like Stevie, who have made a difference in our local communities and beyond. From acts of kindness and selfless bravery to raising millions for charity, it’s no wonder the Pride of Scotland is the People’s Oscars.
The combination of big hearts and big stars have made the Daily Record Pride of Scotland Awards with TSB a runaway success.
The details of this year’s ceremony, which is set to be a summer spectacular at a major venue hosted by Elaine C Smith and Sanjeev Kohli, will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
Stevie said: “It was one of the best nights of my life and I urge the nation to get nominating.”
Host Sanjeev said: “Pride of Scotland is such a wonderful, life-affirming night, and it is a real honour to be part of it again. The winners are the most incredible people, and I love that we can shine a light on them in such a special way.”
Gary Jones, customer delivery director of TSB, said: “TSB has been proud to support the Pride of Scotland Awards since its inception. Each year we look forward to celebrating Scotland’s everyday heroes.
“We are living in challenging times and that makes it especially important to recognise and celebrate the contribution of the people who do so much to improve the lives of those around them.
“They don’t seek praise for what they do but we are delighted to be a part of honouring their achievements in helping their communities live a life made more.”
David Dick, editor-inchief of Reach (Scotland), said: “Heroes come in every shape and size. They rarely seek attention, yet what they do changes and transforms the lives of others – in one simple act or in a lifetime’s work. Pride of Scotland is a celebration of their achievements.”