They are a trio bonded together by dedicating their lives to the service of others.
In different ways Jeanette Barton, Margaret Colinson, and Elizabeth Macdonald have gone over and above the norm over the years, never asking for any special recognition.
That changed yesterday when they were brought together to receive the British Empire Medal at a special ceremony in the City Chambers from Lord Provost Donald Wilson, the Queen’s representative in Edinburgh.
Mrs Colinson, 84, of Kingsknowe, honoured for her work in voluntary service, said she had only done what was in her nature – and had no plans to stop any time soon. The charities she has helped include the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service shop in the Princess Margaret Rose Hospital and the WRVS when it moved to the Western General.
She has also been an outstanding ambassador for Marie Curie Cancer Care for more than 20 years and hosts annual garden parties at her own home to raise funds for the charity, along with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Despite suffering bouts of ill-health, including ovarian cancer, she said volunteering gave her “a good outlook on life”.
She added: “I’m really just delighted to do something – I have got that kind of nature to get up and go.”
That drive is shared by Mrs Macdonald, 65, who was described as the “lynchpin” of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary’s A&E department where she has worked as a departmental secretary to the lead consultant for more than 30 years.
She has also volunteered for Edinburgh’s pre-hospital flying squad – Medic 1 – since the inception of the Medic 1 Charitable Trust in 1994, which provides on-site medical care at major disasters and traumatic events. It was for this which she received the BEM.
Mrs Macdonald, of Colinton, said: “I’m very honoured and very humbled – there are lots of more deserving people than me but this is marvellous and we will be having a little celebration tonight.”
Mrs Barton, a civil servant for more than 40 years, meanwhile, was recognised for services to community care and her tireless work which has included being the personal secretary to several senior civil servants.
She worked in social work services and community care until her retirement last year and has also been heavily involved in volunteering with vulnerable people.
Mrs Barton, of Blackhall, said: “It was a big surprise when I got the letter but very nice. I just enjoy volunteering and I want to say thank you to everyone for the award.”
Cllr Wilson said he was honoured to bestow the BEMs to the “very worthy recipients”.
He added: “Each of these women are inspirational role models for our city, proving that hard-working and caring volunteers are at the heart of building positivity within communities.”