Queen honours Kelso charity stalwarts

One of the founding members of Charity Begins at Home shop in Kelso Joyce Cavers (middle with blue necklace) celebrates with her staff at recognition given to the shop.
One of the founding members of Charity Begins at Home shop in Kelso Joyce Cavers (middle with blue necklace) celebrates with her staff at recognition given to the shop.
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The voluntary efforts of a large group of Kelso residents has been recognised with an award from the Queen and invites to a royal garden party.

On Friday, the volunteers behind Charity Begins at Home found out that they had been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, one of just 13 organisations in Scotland to receive it this year.

Margaret Riddell, chairperson of the trustees and also of the shop committee, said the volunteers, mainly women, were delighted by the news.

“The staff are absolutely bowled over by it. They are thrilled.

“I telephoned them on Friday and they just couldn’t believe it, but it is well deserved – they give up their time to help the charity make money.”

She added: “It is wonderful that we also have six ladies going to the royal garden party in July at Holyrood too. Four have been invited through London and another two invited through Scottish Borders Council.”

The charity, which provides funds for good causes throughout the TD5 area, as well as those outwith which will benefit residents, has been running since 2000.

In that time an incredible £400,000 has been distributed, thanks to the sale of goods in the charity’s shop. Just two weeks ago £50,000 was split between 49 different local groups.

“It is all down to willing, dedicated women, the majority of whom are retired and give up their time to work in the shop,” said Margaret.

She said the support from the wider community was ‘unbelievable’, adding that she thought this was largely down to the fact that they know the charity backs local causes.

Margaret, the former provost of the town, has been involved in the charity since its foundation. “It is something I really enjoy,” she said.

A formal presentation of a certificate and piece of crystal will take place later this month, by the Lord Lieutenant.