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Caitlind's story: ‘Volunteer hero turned my life around’

Volunteer hero Steve GottsDerek Gordon

Red Cross staff member Steve Gotts has just won a prestigious Caring Hero award – after being nominated by a vulnerable young volunteer whose life he helped turned around.

Steve, a service manager based in Elgin, is responsible for more than 200 volunteers across the north of Scotland. A paid member of staff, the tireless 49-year-old puts in as many hours volunteering as he does in his day job.

But all his dedication was rewarded on when he won the Daily Record 'Our Caring Hero' award, which celebrates people from caring professions who have made a major difference to the lives of others.

Father figure

He was nominated by young volunteer Caitlind Walker who, before she joined the Red Cross, had been living unhappily in foster care and – beset by personal problems – had started to self-harm.

Steve took the troubled teenager under his wing two years ago and – by providing a caring environment and support in her voluntary work – helped give Caitlind the confidence and self-belief to get her life back on course.

Now the formerly reclusive young volunteer is thriving at college and considers Steve to be much more than just a boss. For her, he has become a father figure – and a personal hero.

‘An amazing bloke’

She told the Northern Scot newspaper: "My family walked out on me and he's the only person who's just accepted me for who I am. He's just amazing, a top bloke who's made a difference to many other people's lives, not just mine."

After receiving his award, Steve said: "I was thrilled to even make the shortlist and never expected to win, so I'm almost speechless. This award is for all my colleagues who help make the world a better place.

"We have a vast array of ages working for us and the commitment of the volunteers here never ceases to amaze me."

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