KNOWN for her open door and an open heart, pensioner Janie Pryde has endeared herself to many in her adopted home town of Musselburgh.
Her status as one of the Honest Toun’s own was confirmed this week with the Musselburgh Citizen of the Year award 2015 – recognising decades of charity work.
Janie, 86, was one of three unsung heroes honoured by Musselburgh and Inveresk community council in a ceremony attended by more than 100 people at the Brunton on Tuesday evening.
There were accolades in the form of certificates for 37-year-old Lynne Campbell, a volunteer at the Hollies Day Centre for the past 17 years, and local electrician Ian Blair, 60, whose unpaid endeavours have helped to keep the town’s Christmas lights looking their best.
Originally from Gorebridge, Janie moved to Musselburgh in the 1960s with her husband, the late Willie Pryde – a professional footballer who distinguished himself with three caps for Scotland.
It was when Janie, a mother-of-three, was persuaded by friends to join St Michael’s Parish Church that her generosity of spirit and keen organisational skills became apparent.
Having opened a guest house in Linkfield Road, she was soon providing free accommodation – and in some cases food and clothing – for a steady stream of students and ministers visiting from India and other parts of the world.
In 1986, she was elected president of the women’s guild at St Michael’s, going on to become an elder and the first woman to administer communion in the church.
As her home became a hub for community activities, including musical evening and Burns suppers, Janie realised the potential to use such events to raise money for charity and encouraged more and more people to get involved.
“What I did in opening up my home did not pay in money, but it has paid in other ways. I did not realise until now what an impact it had made,” she said.
“This award has been a wonderful surprise and a real honour and I think it is as much for St Michael’s as it is for me. It’s a proud moment for the church.”
Thanking her for her contribution to the life of the town, community councillor and friend Cathie McAlpine said Janie had touched people in Musselburgh and around the globe with the “quiet and dignified manner” in which she had helped so many others.