Real Lives: Bridget adds new honour to community roles in city

Bridget Stevens

Bridget Stevens

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Bridget Stevens, former chair and still a member of Merchiston Community Council, has been commissioned as a Deputy Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh, along with Moyra Forrest and John Lawrie.

The office, formerly a military position said to date back to Henry VIII, involves assisting the Lord Lieutenant with civic and ceremonial duties, including meeting Heads of State during visits to the country, and Ms Stevens has said she is “thrilled to bits” to help out.

Born in Edinburgh, Ms Stevens attended Mary Erskine’s school for girls and went on to study at the University of St Andrews where she graduated with an MA Honours in French and German.

After that she moved to London and completed a postgraduate course in office administration, but returned north of the Border after accepting a post at the newly-created Stirling University, when the entire staff numbered only ten people.

Her stay at the university was enjoyable but brief, and after 18 months she accepted a post at the University of Edinburgh in 1970, where she spent most of her employed life.

In her role as director of international summer programmes for continuing education she co-operated with various agencies in the organisation of courses covering a wide range of aspects of Scottish culture.

She was also responsible for leading overseas study tours in connection with various Lord Provosts to a number of Edinburgh’s twin cities, including Vancouver, San Diego and Florence, which allowed her to develop her love of travel and languages.

After her early retirement in 2002 she continued her community involvement through a series of community positions, including chair of Merchiston Community Council and president of Edinburgh University Graduates’ Association, and she still serves as a community councillor.

Ms Stevens has been an avid charity fundraiser over the years, having run four relay marathons with her family in aid of a number of charities, most notably Macmillan Cancer Support and the British Heart Foundation.

She maintains a hectic schedule today, and is involved in organising the 2012 Edinburgh Lectures on behalf of the University of Edinburgh and the Eric Liddell Centre, and she also remains a member of various “Friends of” associations such as the Traverse Theatre, where she acts as an audio describer, providing narratives for the blind.

When she does find any spare time Ms Stevens keeps active by gardening, reading and writing book reviews for various publishers as well as jogging, cycling and taking zumba classes.

She said she was surprised by her latest appointment. “I’m aware of the great honour and I look forward to carrying out my duties.”