A PENSIONER who has selflessly served her community for three decades has been presented with her British Empire Medal at the City Chambers.
Rose Ritchie, 81, of Queensferry, was honoured for her voluntary work in her local Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) shop.
Rose was born on August 25, 1931, at Simpson Maternity Hospital to mother Adeliha and railway engineer father, Robert.
After attending Craiglockhart Primary and Boroughmuir Secondary, she left school at the age of 14 to take on an office job with St Cuthbert’s Cooperative Society, now known as Scotmid. After working in head office for a number of weeks, she was transferred to the dairy department, where she would ensure ration cheques had been properly filled out.
Once she had been working for the company for about a year, her family moved to Fife, prompting her to take an office job with Hewlett Packard, where she remained until her retirement at the age of 65.
After retiring, Rose moved to Queensferry in the 1980s.
She said: “Now I wasn’t working I had time on my hands and it was mentioned to me that it would be helpful to the RNLI if the lifeboat shop was opened in the afternoons, so I started to volunteer along with a number of other people.”
Before a custom-built heated shop was built last year, Rose and her fellow volunteers had to run the shop from the boat shed used by the rescue service at the Hawes Pier, which was open at the front in all weathers, rain, snow or occasional shine. The shopkeepers were also tasked with quickly moving their wares out of the way if the alarm was sounded so the boats could launch.
Rose continued: “My mother died in 1996, and after that I really threw myself into volunteering. The RNLI became my family and the shop my second home. It certainly takes more than just me to keep this place going – there are many other volunteers who also deserve recognition for running this very successful shop.”
Rose’s dedication was underlined in 2000 when she was officially put in charge and her work was acknowledged when she was awarded the British Empire Medal in the 2012 new year’s honours list. She was presented with her medal by Lord Provost Donald Wilson last month.
Tom Robertson, chairman of the lifeboat management group at Queensferry and former lifeboat operations manager, said: “I’ve known Rose since she first came to Queensferry back in the 1980s and as much as she may argue, this medal is extremely well-deserved. We operate one of the busiest lifeboat stations in the country and her valiant support of the RNLI and the time and energy she has continued to give over an extended period of her life are truly appreciated by every single member of the service and countless people in the local community.”