Guiding light to the movement rewarded

Margaret Winter has been in Guiding since she was seven. Picture: comp

Margaret Winter has been in Guiding since she was seven. Picture: comp

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Margaret Winter has been honoured for her outstanding service to Girlguiding Scotland with the prestigious Laurel Award.

Margaret Winter grew up in the Braids and went to Boroughmuir High School.

Her involvement with Guiding began when she joined the Brownies at Greenbank Parish Church when she was seven.

“My mother was very keen on Guiding and all my friends were going to the Brownies,” she says. “We enjoyed it, became young leaders, then adult leaders and then just kept involved. The whole programme of activities appealed and the friendship and camaraderie.

“I have friends all over the world as a result of Guiding, It’s a real bonding thing, You have friends wherever you go – you just mention Guiding and it’s amazing how many women across the globe are involved.”

Margaret became an Assistant Leader with the 162nd Edinburgh Guides, attached to Greenbank, in 1976 and remained involved there until 1989 when she moved house to Drumbrae and worked with the Guides at St Andrew’s Church.

She was appointed Divisional Commissioner for Inveralmond division, covering the north-west of the city, and was effectively manager overseeing about 40 units of Brownies, Guides and Rainbows from 1997 until 2005.

Then she became County Commissioner, responsible for the whole of Edinburgh. And she was heavily involved in the celebrations for Guiding’s centenary in 2010. “We had a lot of special events for each of our sections through the year and there was a civic reception at the City Chambers.

“We also had 1500 Brownies taking over the Castle, the Guides took over the climbing centre at Ratho and the Rainbows had a big party in the Assembly Rooms.”

Since 2010 she has been Scottish Guiding Development Adviser, which includes overseeing training of adult leaders. But she is still involved at the grassroots too – as a leader with the 215th Edinburgh Rainbows at 
St Andrew’s Church.

Margaret, who graduated with a degree in geography from Edinburgh University before doing a post-graduate qualification in sports administration, works as an administrator with the Scottish Canoe Association at the Gyle.

She and husband Mike, a doctor, have two grown-up children. Daughter Kirsty is a leader with 224 Brownie group based at Fox Covert School, and son Ross, now in England.

Margaret was presented with a specially-designed brooch by Girlguiding Scotland’s Chief Commissioner, Sue Walker, at Girlguiding Edinburgh’s annual review. She says: “I was completely surprised to receive the Laurel Award. Although it is an individual award, it’s also a tribute to all the brilliant teams I have worked with.”