Swim coach Yvonne Anderson awarded MBE in New Year Honours

Special Olympics coach Yvonne Anderson, 11 Brookfield Terrace, Bilston, who received an MBE in the New Year Honours
Special Olympics coach Yvonne Anderson, 11 Brookfield Terrace, Bilston, who received an MBE in the New Year Honours
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A professor and a swimming coach were the Midlothian recipients in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.

Professor William Scott from Temple near Gorebridge, formerly chief pharmaceutical officer for the Scottish Government, received an OBE for services to healthcare.

Coach Yvonne Anderson, vice chairwoman for Special Olympics Scotland, was honoured with an MBE for services to the Special Olympics.

Born and raised in Bilston, Yvonne, 60, said: “It’s unbelievable, just unreal. I don’t think it has sunk in yet. It just seems very surreal, but at the same time wonderful, amazing.

“About six weeks ago I received a letter from the Cabinet Office to say I had been nominated. I didn’t know for certain until I saw it in the press on Hogmanay.

“It’s absolutely wonderful. But I do have to say ‘why me?’.

“Because there are lots of people who do more than me.

“It is nice to be recognised for doing something I love, though. I get so much out of it. It doesn’t seem like
a chore. I love coaching.

“And I love coaching people with disabilities, as I can see the difference in people immediately. They come along and enjoy it.

“It gives me so much pleasure to see them smile. To give them that little something in their life is really rewarding.”

Yvonne has been coaching in the county for 30 years.

She said: “Development is part of my main job as community recreation officer at Midlothian Council. And I coach swimming every Thursday at Loanhead Leisure Centre.

“I’m the chairwoman of Lothian Special Olympics, and if called upon I can help out and coach sports in that.

“I also have to organise competitions. I have been involved with Special Olympics for 18 years now. I have been with the council for 30 years. I started as caretaker at Bilston Pavilion in 1986.

“I then became duty officer at Bonnyrigg Leisure Centre. And I took on my current job as community recreation officer 19 years ago.”

Yvonne, who will marry her long-term partner Phil Hay in October at Newbattle Abbey, enjoyed a memorable summer last year with the Great Britain Special Olympics team where she coached the swimmers, including Midlothian swimmer Michelle Moran.

She said: “The stuff I do with Special Olympics is above and beyond my job. Last year I was at the World Games in Los Angeles, so the council supported me with time off and things like that.

“That was the highlight for me. You can’t get much higher than that in Special Olympics. So getting this honour rounds off a great year for me.

“This MBE is for every Special Olympics volunteer in Lothian, because they are fantastic people. They all give up so much time. I’m really proud to be part of that team.”

Yvonne has two daughters and two grandchildren.

KEVIN QUINN