Local heroes honoured in Queen's birthday list

  • Published

Featured among the list of Queen's birthday honours this year are a number of community heroes credited for enhancing the lives of those around them.


He may be 80 years old, but age has failed to put a dent in Reginald Adams' commitment to the 90 or so youngsters he coaches three days every week in Grangemouth.

For the past 50 years he has volunteered at the town's amateur swimming club helping to train Scottish champions and record holders reach their potential.

During the 1980s, Mr Adams qualified through the Scottish Amateur Swimming Association as timekeeper, judge, starter and referee and subsequently could be found on pool-sides throughout the central belt of Scotland, officiating at international, national, district or inter-club galas.

In the 1980s, amateur swimming clubs in the Forth Valley instituted a league, mainly for young swimmers and those older ones who had not quite made the grade to their club's elite squad.

He volunteered his services as the league's referee, attending galas up to 12 weekends a year.

His commitment to local swimming, particularly at grassroots level, has been described as "tireless".


Patricia Douglas is known for devoting her life to teaching dance and ballet to children from under-privileged and low income families.

The 71-year-old's reputation as a choreographer, dancer and tutor has been earned over the past 50 years teaching dance throughout Edinburgh.

At the age of 16 she started the Patricia Brown School of Dancing, which continues to this day.

Her inclusive, community-orientated approach saw her waive fees for those who could not afford her classes.

She has also been known to spend her time designing and making costumes for her pupils for upcoming performances.

Along with ballet, she has also taught tap, jazz and modern dance.

Many of her pupils have gone on to appear in musicals and pantomimes throughout Britain, including performances with the Scottish Ballet, Ballet Rambert and the National Theatre of Scotland.


Thomas Robertson, 68, is currently the only lifeboat operations manager in Scotland to hold both that title and that of chairman - an indication of his commitment.

Both these and all the other roles he has held in the RNLI have been voluntary.

Described as an "exemplary volunteer", Mr Robertson has been responding to an RNLI pager to save lives at sea for 36 years.

During 14 years as inshore lifeboat crew/helm he was commended for bravery on two occasions, being awarded letters of appreciation from the RNLI's operations director.

The station's location close to the Forth Road Bridge means a higher than normal number of services to suicide attempts.

He is also recognised for the support he gives his crew in these distressing situations.


Elma Rendall is recognised for her "major contribution" by providing banking services in some of the remotest parts of the UK.

As a customer service officer for Royal Bank of Scotland at Kirkwall in Orkney for more than 20 years, she is well known among those in local businesses.

Every year she travels countless miles to customers in neighbouring islands, using the RBS Flying Bank Service on a daily basis.

As many in such communities do not have the option of modern electronic banking, Mrs Rendall's visits allow them access to basic financial transactions.

Much of her time is spent collecting and distributing cash to businesses operating on the islands, and to individual customers living and working there.


Catherine Skinner is being recognised for dedicating her life to helping others.

She has been a voluntary worker in Blytheswood Care's Tain Christian Bookshop since the 1990s.

Despite working as a Sunday school teacher at Fearn Parish Church for 40 years, the 72-year-old has helped raise funds for the Scottish Leprosy Charity - including door-to-door collections - and the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children for more than 15 years.

She has also been raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support since 1974 and has collected clothes, food and books for Alba Aid.

In 2009 she was awarded the Hugh Dundas Volunteer of the Year Award.


Olivia Giles' efforts to raise awareness about the potentially devastating effects of meningitis have been described as "outstanding".

She launched Leap for Meningitis to raise awareness and to support research.

Sir Sean Connery agreed to be patron after she inspired him to become involved. A host of other celebrities have since backed her initiative.

By 2004 she had made a significant contribution to the Meningitis Research Foundation and Meningitis UK, personally raising over £450,000.

During that year she was named Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year and the Institute of Fundraising Scotland's Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year, followed in 2005 by a Junior Chamber International Award for Humanitarian Services and a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship.