Hastie retreat after 30 years of giving advice

Anne Hastie enjoyed the challenge of her work at CAB. Picture: comp
Anne Hastie enjoyed the challenge of her work at CAB. Picture: comp
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A stalwart of the Citizens Advice Bureau, who has helped tens of thousands of clients during a rewarding 
30-year career, is set to retire.

Born in Glasgow, Anne Hastie attended Knightswood Secondary School in the West End, but left education at 15 to work as a secretary at Glasgow City Chambers.

A summer romance at the age of 13 sparked a life-long love affair with husband Alex, with whom she tied the knot aged 19.

Following a career in public relations, Mrs Hastie began working at the Haddington Citizens Advice Bureau in 1986 as a volunteer, and progressed into management three years later – a position she has held for a quarter of a century.

The grandmother-of-five will leave the organisation – where she navigated clients through the often confusing maze of bureaucracy – in July, to devote more time to volunteering at the Law Society of Scotland as a non-solicitor committee member.

Mrs Hastie, who lives in Musselburgh, began volunteering at the CAB while still working as a badminton coach, training, among others, television presenter Gail Porter.

From the beginning, she was keen to provide quality advice and service to her clients.

In 1989, three years after she began as a volunteer, she got the chance to become the manager – partly, she claims, because she had studied Russian at school.

At the time, money was tight within the organisation and she was paid for only 25 out of the 46 hours of her working week.

“My job was my hobby,” said Mrs Hastie.

When she started, she said she was “a joker, a puppet whose strings were pulled”, but with time, she became the “one to juggle the balls”.

Speaking about her time with the CAB, she said: “I like my brain to be challenged, and enjoy that I never know who comes through our doors.”

During a royal visit to Haddington several years ago, Mrs Hastie “cheekily” asked whether Princes Anne would consider dropping into the local CAB branch and was delighted to see her request accepted.

The Princess Royal later became a patron of the Scottish arm of the charity.

Wilma Archibald, a CAB Scotland advice and outreach co-ordinator for the last five years, described her departing colleague as “very fair, and kind”.

She said: “Her support for the local community is amazing, she will do everything in her power to help clients.”

The Haddington CAB was on the brink of closure several times due to funding issues, especially in the first few years of Mrs Hastie’s time there.

Despite the constant struggle, she managed to keep the bureau’s doors open and it even became the first CAB in the county to employ an approved debt adviser.