Queen honours the humble and the embarrassed

Anne Brown of Morebattle Village Shop.

Anne Brown of Morebattle Village Shop.

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A horse enthusiast, a village shop owner and a festival president have been named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list published last week.

Ann Fraser from near Jedburgh was made an MBE in recognition of her services to the equestrian and leisure industries in the Borders.

George Bunyan

George Bunyan

She was one of those who started the popular Festival of the Horse which is now in its 14th year.

Mrs Fraser has been a member of the British Horse Society (BHS) for more 30 years and chairs Equestrian Access in Scotland. She played a key role in ensuring that horse riders enjoyed the same rights as walkers and cyclists when the Land Reform Act (Scotland) 2003 was passed by Holyrood.

She was also a driving force behind the South of Scotland Countryside Trails. That project saw the BHS secure £750,000 of European funding to develop a 350km network of multi-use tracks.

The director of the BHS in Scotland Helene Mauchlen commented: “Ann’s dedication to the horse as an economic driver in the Borders and her life-long fight for safe, off-road, access for equines, makes her a worthy recipient of this honour. She continues to work tirelessly and is highly respected.”

Ann Fraser (MBE)

Ann Fraser (MBE)

Former teacher Mrs Anne Brown saved the village shop in Morebattle from closure when she bought it five years ago and has been awarded the British Empire Medal. During the horrendous winter of 2009-10 Mrs Brown, from Cranshaws near Duns, camped in the shop from before Christmas into the early weeks of January to ensure it could open each day.

Mrs Brown said this week: “This is all very embarrassing, but very humbling and a great honour. It is also good that the village is being mentioned. I took over the shop because it is very necessary, especially for the older people. It is something of a social hub.”

George Bunyan has also been honoured with a British Empire Medal for services to Melrose and sport. He played rugby for the town from 1950 to 1967, served on the committee, and for 20 years was secretary of the world-famous Melrose sevens, with seven years as tournament convener.

He was appointed Melrosian for the 1956 festival and has been involved ever since. He served first on the committee and was chairman for six years, joint chairman for seven years and is now the festival’s president.

Mr Bunyan was the community council provost from 1996 to 2005. He has been a kirk elder for almost half a century and he and his late wife Margaret helped found the Melrose Waverley Tennis Club.

He told us: “News of the award came out of the blue. I find it very humbling to know that local people thought enough of me to put my name forward.”