Young photographer is crowned ‘Dumbarton Hero’

11-year-old uses her hobby to help the vulnerable
Artizan Shopping Centre’s search to find a local legend has come to a fantastic close, with Amy Don scooping the title of ‘Dumbarton Hero’ - and a luxury overnight break - for her fundraising efforts to help less fortunate people in the town.
Talented photographer Amy has stolen the hearts of hundreds of people from across Dumbarton for her selfless acts in organising her own charity photoshoots, where she takes portraits of the public in exchange for a donation. The funds raised go directly towards helping local organisations including See the Invisibles and the West Dunbartonshire Community Foodshare.
Amy, 11, discovered her love for photography just a few short months ago after attending a six-week Tullochon Trust summer camp, where the activity was on offer. Amy recalls how she loved being able to capture her memories through pictures, with her passion growing quickly from there. She decided by herself that she wanted to combine her camera skills with helping others.
“I’ve held two Christmas-themed photography fundraisers so far, with people kindly donating £381, which I was able to buy sleeping bags, hats, gloves scarves and socks for the See the Invisibles homeless charity.
“My most recent photoshoot raised £634 for West Dunbartonshire Community Foodshare’s toy bank appeal and I was really happy to be able to get lots of toys for the children,” said Amy. “Before taking up my hobby, I held a fundraising event in 2014 and donated £1,500 to the Little Princess Trust by cutting 16 inches off my hair.”
When asked how she felt about her latest achievement in winning the Artizan competition, Amy commented: “I didn’t even know I was nominated until my mum told me I was in the final four! It feels amazing to be Dumbarton Hero – it’s nice to have the support of everyone. When I told my friends in school they started clapping and saying, ‘well done’. My family are all super proud of me, too. Thank you to everyone who voted for me!”
Amy’s mum, Lesley Ann Conkie, explained that her daughter has always been incredibly caring and wise beyond her years. “The family is so proud of Amy and all her achievements gained through her love of photography. She raved so much about the summer camp course that we bought her a camera for her birthday, but we never imagined it would lead to her raising all this money for charity and receiving this wonderful recognition from the public.”
Lesley Ann continued: “It’s truly wonderful how she’s always thinking of other people and is a complete natural at making them smile – the pictures from her photoshoots are so good. She’s a very special girl and we are overwhelmed by the support everyone has been showing her.”
Artizan launched the campaign earlier last month to find extraordinary members of the community who go above and beyond for others. Following a two-week nomination period, a shortlist of four people was put forward for the public to choose their winner through a vote on the centre’s Facebook page.
More than 500 people had their say, with Amy receiving more than half of the votes. Stewart Gilmour, operations manager at Artizan Shopping Centre, said the Dumbarton Hero campaign has exceeded all expectations. “This is a very close-knit community and it has been an absolute honour that we’ve been able to highlight just how kind and thoughtful people are in the local area.
“Huge congratulations to Amy who is an exceptional young lady and we are delighted that we’ve been able to bring her story to light,” Stewart said. “With her talent, tenacity and dedication to bettering the lives of others, I’m confident we’ll be celebrating more of Amy’s successes as she grows up.
“I’d also like to say, ‘well done’ and ‘thank you’ to our other fantastic finalists, Jonathan Rainey, Alistair Ferguson and Melody Whitely, who are also doing wonderful things in Dumbarton - we appreciate each and every one of you.”
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