Two women from Midlothian were among those recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours as they each received a British Empire Medal.
Bonnyrigg resident Ann Hamilton has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to veterans, while Ellen Scott from Gorebridge has been given the same honour for services to research and her local community.
Ellen was responsible for setting up local campaign group Gorebridge Community Cares in 2013. Originally established to fight proposals to close Gorebridge Leisure Centre and Gorebridge Library, the group has recently overseen the re-opening of the town’s Auld Gala Day Park.
She also worked at the University of Edinburgh for 23 years, retiring last July. She was a senior administrator at the centre for tropical medicine at Bush and at the Western General on cardiovascular research.
Ellen was delighted to have been honoured: “I was quite taken aback,” she said. “It was just nice of folk to put me forward for it.”
Also a former committee member and chair of Dalkeith and District Citizens Advice Bureau, she spoke of her pleasure in her job at the university and why she started Gorebridge Community Cares.
She said: “They sent a letter to me from the Cabinet Office to say I had got this award. That was at the beginning of December. I was very proud to work there, it is one of the top universities in the world. I always found the people very kind to work with and enjoyed it very much as I was always learning new things.
“I set up Gorebridge Cares because we were trying to save the library and leisure centre. We were lucky to win that fight, and after that I felt we had done something good so let’s do more good.
“It was a positive gesture which came out of trying to do the best for the future of Gorebridge.
“It’s building community spirit and bringing the community together. I think there is always more stuff you would like to do but we are not presumptuous. We are just a little group of volunteers who do the best we can and just keep chipping away at things.”
Ann Hamilton, from Bonnyrigg, has been working for more than 24 years as the office manager for the Scottish Veterans’ Garden City Association, which provides housing for disabled veterans throughout Scotland. She said: “It has been an honour to work for this charity for a quarter of a century.
“I don’t feel as if I have earned it, as we have many volunteers in this charity who give up their time to help veterans too and so this is perhaps on behalf of them also.”
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Callander, chairman of the charity’s board of trustees and Vice Lord Lieutenant for Midlothian, said: “This is a very worthy honour and we are all delighted that Mrs Hamilton has been recognised for this very well-deserved award.”