Dress up and stay in – as winners of this year’s Virtual Society Awards will be announced tonight.
Celebrating a wide range of hard-working individuals and businesses in the north-east, the 2020 awards will highlight how innovative Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire-based entrepreneurs adapted the way their businesses operate during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Five experts make up this year’s judging panel, with CEO of Aberdeen Inspired Adrian Watson, Elevator operations manager Roz Taylor, head of faculty for hair, beauty and sport at NESCol Lesley Ingram, Opportunity North East Limited project manager Elizabeth Mathie and Society associate editor Julia Bryce having the difficult task of choosing winners in each category.
Nine glittering awards will be up for grabs at tonight’s online ceremony. This year’s categories are: Food Business of the Year, Restaurant/Cafe of the Year – sponsored by City of Aberdeen Distillery, Drinks Business of the Year – sponsored by Rutabaga, Best Collaboration of the Year – sponsored by Atholl Scott Financial Services, Best Virtual Event of the Year, Best Social Media Presence of the Year – sponsored by CityFibre, Hair and Beauty Award of the Year and Fitness and Health and Wellbeing Award – both sponsored by Alpha Clinic.
The final accolade, sponsored by Aberdeen Inspired, is Judges’ Choice: Outstanding Contribution Award, which will honour an individual or business which has made an extraordinary contribution to the north-east.
Judge Adrian Watson said: “This year has truly demonstrated the resilience, ingenuity and determination of the incredible local businesses and organisations we have in the city centre, wider Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
“It will be fantastic to see this celebrated, albeit virtually, and we would encourage people to watch the ceremony and show their support. The positivity of the businesses despite difficulties they are facing shone through and we extend our congratulations to all those shortlisted.”
The virtual awards ceremony, which starts at 7pm, will be hosted by former broadcast journalist and TV news presenter Pauline Fraser.
She said: “If there was ever a year local businesses need an extra boost, it’s this year. We’re blessed to have so many fantastic independent businesses flying the flag for our local economy.
“We may not be able to get together in one room for a glittering ceremony but that is not going to hold us back from putting on a fabulous show of support for the wonderful finalists, so get your glad rags on, pour the fizz and join us tonight to give all of our local independent businesses some virtual love.”
Mentalist and illusionist Ariel Hamui will bring a touch of magic to people’s homes and DJ Frenchy will also entertain those who tune in tonight.
Locals are encouraged to dress up for the occasion and share photos of their outfits on social media, with the best dressed male, female, teams and even viewers with best backgrounds receiving fabulous gifts from Meldrum House, Norwood Hall Hotel, Platter and Banchory Lodge Hotel.