Delight of transport volunteers

Queen's award for upper tweeddale red cross drivers
Queen's award for upper tweeddale red cross drivers

A PEEBLESSHIRE charity which stepped into the breach to cover for inadequate public transport to ensure its isolated residents had access to essential health services received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) at a ceremony in Broughton Village Hall on Friday.

The award, considered the MBE for community groups and one of just 13 awarded in Scotland this year, was presented to Fiona Hamilton, co-ordinator of the Upper Tweeddale Community and Red Cross Drivers, by Lord Lieutenant Captain David Younger, Her Majesty’s official representative in Tweeddale.

“It is a wonderful honour,” said Mrs Hamilton who took up her current role in 1981. “About 50 attended and we all had a jolly evening exchanging and sharing experiences.”

Captain Younger will be on similarly pleasant duty on Monday when he presents the QAVS to Tweed Wheels at a ceremony in St Ronan’s House, Innerleithen, at 7pm.

The service, run by The Bridge in Peebles and with a fundraising shop in Innerleithen, has more than 60 volunteers who take groups and individuals throughout Tweeddale on outings for bird watching, shopping, the theatre and sports events.

Founded in 1997, Tweed Wheels operates two accessible vehicles – a minibus and a smaller people-carrier for those with a disability.

The award ceremony will coincide with the launch of a new fully accessible community minibus, thanks to a £38,000 local fundraising campaign.

Members the Upper Tweeddale Community and Red Cross Drivers are pictured with the Lord Lieutenant, celebrating after the presentation of the award.