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Jane MacLeod, Lord Lieutenant for Argyll and Bute, has presented staff and volunteers from Campbeltown charity Shopper-Aide with their Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The charity, which provides invaluable support to Kintyre’s older citizens, has received the honour – the UK’s highest award for volunteers – in its 10th anniversary year.
At the presentation ceremony at Campbeltown Town Hall last Friday, Mrs MacLeod said: ‘It is a considerable privilege to be here this afternoon. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is an extremely prestigious award, the equivalent of an MBE for an individual.
‘It is a very difficult award to get; the process that you have to go through is immense and you have to be doing a huge amount of really good work in your community before you are considered.
‘The number of applications that are received from throughout the UK, and the quality of applicants, is considerable.
‘It is a great honour for Kintyre and the Argyll and Bute Lieutenancy is delighted to be able to present the award to Shopper-Aide.’
Mrs MacLeod provided a short history of the charity, from its creation by Susan Paterson in 2011, to its most recent work, ensuring some of Kintyre’s most vulnerable residents remained happy and healthy during the Covid-19 pandemic.
South Kintyre’s Deputy Lieutenant Jim Martin read the official citation, signed by Her Majesty The Queen, as follows: ‘Elizabeth the Second, by the grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of our other realms and territories Queen, defender of the faith, to Shopper-Aide for providing vital services to older people in the Kintyre peninsula including the island of Gigha.
‘We being cognisant of the said group’s outstanding voluntary work in the community, and being desirous of showing our Royal favour, do hereby confer upon it The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.’
Afterwards, Ms Paterson said: ‘This is a very momentous occasion for us, particularly because this is our 10th year.
‘We are an organisation that relies very much on volunteers and that is why people are here today, because this is about our volunteers.
‘We are also a company that started with volunteers and gave many of them a job, if they wanted to work in our sector and we had a place for them, and that is something we’re really quite proud of.’
Such is the nature of their work that some of the charity’s volunteers were not able to attend last Friday’s ceremony, a testament to their commitment to those in the community for whom they provide support.
Among the guests present was Linda Brannigan, who nominated Shopper-Aide for the award.
‘I am delighted that Shopper-Aide has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service,’ Mrs Brannigan told the Courier. ‘I have known Susan Paterson for many years and have watched in amazement the way the group has grown.
‘Starting with such a worthwhile concept, they have identified and met so many needs within our community.
‘I felt that everyone involved deserved the recognition that this award gives and am thrilled that the nomination was successful. It was an honour to have had a small part in this.’
Ms Paterson thanked Mrs Brannigan for her nomination and added: ‘I’d also like to thank all the staff and all the volunteers, those whose who are here, those that aren’t and those who have been there in the past, because without them we certainly wouldn’t be here today.’