in it to win it

The Elizabeth Wardlaw Leith Citizenship Award (aka The Crocus Award)

Named for the late Elizabeth Wardlaw, this award recognises those who have gone above and beyond in service to the community independently, or with Leith Festival.

Elizabeth Wardlaw was an active member of the Leith community, serving as minister of Hermitage United Free Church in addition to becoming a Leith Councillor. She served in that capacity for over 20 years. Reverend Wardlaw was dedicated to the Leith community and her constituents, instigating many initiatives and helping countless people and families over the years.

The Crocus Award was proposed in 2007 following the death of Mrs Wardlaw in recognition of her service, and to celebrate others who contribute to our community. The name and design of the award recognises a project instigated by Elizabeth who initially organised children from Leith and St Mary’s (Leith) Primary Schools to plant crocuses to brighten up the links in Spring way back in the 1980’s. The Crocuses spread, and the beauty of them in spring brings much pleasure to many. They are a fitting memorial to Reverend Wardlaw.

The creation of the award was a joint effort with input from the then minister of South Leith Parish Church, Rev Ian Gilmour, Leith Rotary (who donated the trophy) and Leith Festival. The award is presented each year during Leith Festival.

2023 Mrs Rita Crombie

In recognition of her dedication to Leith. Rita worked as a teacher at Leith Primary for many years, before joining the supply list instead of retiring! Finally giving up teaching at age 70. Rita also served on the board of Leith Festival for over 20 years, as well as contributing to many other causes and organisations over the years.

As she chose to step down from the board in 2023, we felt it would be an appropriate time to recognise the contribution she has made both to the Festival and the wider community.

2022 Amanda and John Paul

Father and daughter, Amanda and John Paul have been long time supporters of Leith Festival spending many hours volunteering both in the lead up to the festival, and on gala day and at the Tattoo. John has also kept a photographic record of festivals over the years, providing and invaluable resource of images and videos for us to draw on.

2019 Jim and Annie Scanlon

Husband and wife, Jim and Annie Scanlon were awarded the Crocus in 2019 in recognition of their years of dedicated work benefiting our Leith community. Both have been active members of Leith Links community council, and Jim continues to serve as chair. As well as being active in the Leith Rules Golf Society, which has brought the statue of John Rattray to Leith Links, and the Leith Historical Society,.

2018 Joseph Cox

Young Leither Joseph Cox created a campaign in the winter of 2017 to provide socks and warm clothing to homeless people across Leith and Edinburgh more widely. His Socks for the Streets campaign collected and distributed over 2000 pairs of socks along with other warm clothing and sleeping bags to help people stay warm in the coldest months of the year.

2017 Elizabeth Polson

Liz was involved in Leith Festival from the early days, when Mrs Wardlaw extended Gala Day into the much wider Leith Festival we know today. She has been instrumental in the development of Christmas in Leith along with fellow board member Rita Crombie, and has given exceptional service before standing down in 2016.

2016 Tim Bell

Tim relocated to Leith many years ago and has become well known for his hard work offering help and support to the many sailors still arriving at Leith Docks. He has been involved in compering the Leith Festival Community Tattoo as well as offering his popular ‘Trainspotting’ tours as part of the Leith Festival programme.

2015 Bryan Maughan

Bryan has worked hard for many years developing the Youth group for the Pilmeny Development Project. This has become an important and valued place of support and activities for a huge number of young people from 5-16.

2014 Billy Skivington

Billy is a well-kent Leith figure who has been a great supporter of the community and Leith Festival. Secretary and Stalwart of Leith Dockers club, Billy was always supportive of, and an advocate for many of the events held at the club, including the reintroduction of the annual Burns supper back in 2004, still going strong 10 years on!

2013 Fiona Duncan

Fiona is an extremely able Leith Festival volunteer who also gave her time and skills to act as our secretary/treasurer for many years – no small task, but one which she carried out cheerfully and efficiently!

2012 Lorraine Rourke

Lorraine, owner of Habana (next to the Playhouse) is a tireless worker for the community in Leith. She has contributed a fantastic amount of fundraising for the Festival, as well as her involvement with the ‘Lady Dockers’ – ensuring they always put on a great display in the Pageant on Gala Day!

2011 Reverend Ian Gilmore

Ian was a valued Chair of Leith Festival for a number of years, and did a great deal to keep Mrs Wardlaw’s idea of a wider ranging Leith festival alive. Including instigating this award after her death. As a local minister he has helped countless members of our community over the years.

2010 Fred Frayling-Kelly

Fred is well known in music circles in the wider area through his involvement with many groups and teaching at Edinburgh College and Napier University. He instigated the Leith Festival Community Tattoo to round off festival week, to the delight of all those who have witnessed it over the years, and founded the fabulous Leith Community Concert band now in it’s 20th year.

2009 Mary Moriarty

Mary needs no introduction, and she certainly deserves this award. In spite of being a very busy lady she has devoted hours of her time and energy to get festival week up and running. Nothing is ever too much bother for her, and she stores an amazing amount of information about what needs to be done and when both in her records and in her head.

2008 Sandy McAulay

Sandy came to Leith Academy in the late 1990’s as head teacher and has been a progressive and respected figure in the development of the academy, and all areas of life at the school. As head teacher he has been a huge supporter of Leith Festival, as well as supporting our young people to make the best of themselves.

2007 Arthur Mathieson

Arthur is the worthy first recipient of the Crocus Award. Boy’s Brigade Captain in the 10th Leith Company for over 25 years before moving to lead the juniors, as well as being an active and supportive member of South Leith Parish Church. He upholds the same ideas of service in the community as the Reverend Mrs Wardlaw.