Real lives: Duo’s community spirit is rewarded at ceremony

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TWO local ladies who have devoted time and effort to helping in the community are to be recognised with awards.

Barbara Leslie, a leader at First Dunbar Brownies, and Abby Farrell, a volunteer at the Dunbar day centre and youth club, will both be presented with community awards from Dunbar Community Council, in a ceremony on Monday.

Abby, 21, will receive the Bowe Cup, given to a young person for achievement – her third this month as she also received a Saltire Award and Summit Award for her “outstanding” volunteering at Dunbar Day Centre.

Since Abby moved to Dunbar from Liverpool four years ago, she has launched herself into volunteering for several local organisations.

She has spent more than two years at Dunbar Day Centre, helping with teas, coffees and lunches or just chatting to the pensioners.

Abby, who is studying care at Edinburgh’s Telford College, said: “I just love volunteering at the day centre and I love the people – I really get on with them.”

She is also involved with the Saturday Group for young people with learning disabilities which meets in Musselburgh, and helps out with Dunbar Youth Club.

Asked how she felt about receiving the Bowe Cup, Abby, who lives in the High Street, replied: “I can’t believe it and am so happy. I have always cared about people, and when I was young, used to go to the shops for elderly people.”

Alison Lange, manager at Dunbar Day Centre, said: “Abby’s cheerful and outgoing personality made her popular with all of the service users. She is always willing to contribute to the organisation of more complex social events and can also be relied on to help out wherever she is needed. Abby has consistently demonstrated high standards of commitment and reliability, and is a valued member of the team.”

Barbara, 56, an auxiliary at Dunbar Grammar School who has been involved with the 1st Dunbar Brownies for 23 years, will receive the Community Council Award for her service to the community.

Barbara of Ashfield Gardens started her long association with the Guides and Brownies as a Ranger Guide when she was at school in Dunbar.

She was involved with the 1st Dunbar Guides and left to have her children, but resumed service with the 1st Dunbar Brownies when her daughter Patricia was five.

Barbara said: “It is so nice to be honoured like this. It’s just something I enjoy doing – it’s not a chore – and I like to see the girls progressing.”

She said she planned to stay in the Brownies “until they chuck me out”.

The award ceremony will take place on Monday, during which last year’s winners – lifeboat coxswain Gary Fairbairn and young rugby player Robbie Wilson – and the Bowe Cup recipient from 2009, Michael Warne, will get commemorative shields.