Borderers proud to make it onto Queen's new years honours list
A rail campaigner, ice-cream man and two charity champions are among the Borderers to feature in the Queen's latest new year honours list.
Barrie Forrest, 74, has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to the community in his home village of Reston.
The father of two and grandfather of three, formerly an auction mart foreman in Berwick, has been a member of Reston and Auchencrow Community Council for almost 40 years, acting as chairman and vice-chairman during that time.
He is also an active transport campaigner and has been involved in calls to have Reston’s railway station reopened and safety improvements made to junctions on the A1 near the village.
Mr Forrest, vice-chairman of Rail Action Group East Scotland, was taken aback to be honoured, saying: “It came as a huge surprise to me.
“Obviously, it’s an honour, but there are other people who deserve honours far more than I have ever done.
“It’s nice to be recognised, though, I must admit.”
The UK’s oldest ice-cream man, 94-year-old Adam Kelly, has also been awarded a BEM.
His is for services to business and the community in his home town of Galashiels.
He has been selling ice cream from his van in Galashiels for over half a century, reputedly without ever taking a single day off sick.
He left school at the age of 15 in 1937 and began work on a farm, moving on two years later to a nearby creamery to deliver milk.
In 1941, aged 19, he was called up to the Army, but after being demobbed in 1947, he returned to his creamery job, and in 1964 he began doing evening shifts driving an ice-cream van for an ex-Army friend. He would start at 5.30am doing milk rounds, finish at dinner time, then go out in the ice-cream van at night.
In 1966, he went into business in his own right, as Adam’s Ices, travelling 20 miles on every round and going through up to four gallons of ice cream a day.
He is now a member of the Normandy Veterans’ Association and has been awarded a diploma by the French Embassy in Scotland for his wartime services.
Rhona Elliot, 64 this Sunday, has been made a Member of the British Empire for services to horseracing and her charity work for fellow multiple sclerosis sufferers.
Mrs Elliot, of Jedburgh, was born in Cheadle Hulme in Stockport and later moved to Scarborough and York but has lived in the Borders since marrying her husband Peter, 72, 37 years ago.
She founded the MS Borders Racing Club in 2004 and has raised more than £120,000 since then.
Mrs Elliot organises annual dinners at Kelso racecourse, featuring speakers, auctions, sponsored rides and fashion shows, and they raise up to £20,000 a time.
Keeping her honour a secret was no trouble for Mrs Elliot as she is a past master at keeping mum.
“I’m quite good at keeping secrets,” she said. “When I was first diagnosed with MS 27 years ago, I kept it a secret for 12 years.
“I wasn’t showing any signs at first, and I didn’t want to tell anyone. I was in denial really. I didn’t want to believe I had got it.”
She too was shocked to be honoured, saying: “I was very, very surprised. It was probably the biggest surprise I’ve ever had. I was totally flabbergasted.
“It’s a huge honour. I can’t really believe it.”
Fellow charity champion Jane Bannerman, a mother of four and grandmother of 13, has been given a BEM for services to community healthcare.
She has been a staunch supporter of children’s charity Action Medical Research for over 40 years and is a founder member of its Hawick committee.
Mrs Bannerman, 77, who lives in Hawick with husband Sandy, said: “I was overwhelmed when I received notification of the award, which I will receive in 2017 but, naturally, I am accepting it on behalf of our whole Hawick committee for Action Medical Research, for all the friends who have given their time, ideas and energy over these 40 years.
“One person does not make a committee. I just happen to be the person originally asked.
“I still don’t know who put my name forward, but I would say to them ‘thank you very much’.”
She can still recall how her involvement with the charity began, saying: “One sunny April day in 1976 when I was at home with our four children, there was a knock at the door.
“I opened it to a complete stranger, a bonny lass who told me she had been given my name as someone who might consider starting up a committee to raise awareness and funds for a children’s charity.”
“I resolved there and then to ask friends to join me in forming a local Hawick committee for this worthwhile charity that does positive research with the money raised.”
That charity, now called Action Medical Research, funds research to help sick and disabled babies and children through medical research, developing treatments, vaccines and cures.
“In no time 11 friends joined me,” Jane added. “We were up and running with a bank balance of £6, 50p from each member, and held our first event in May 1976.
“Two members of our original committee, Elizabeth Stanger and Marilyn Jarvis, have, like me, remained on the committee since day one.
“We’ve enjoyed every minute. We’ve had a good laugh.
“Hawick is just a small town in the Scottish Borders. This is not a me award. It’s an everybody award.”
Others Scots honoured included Edinburgh University chaplain the Rev Harriet Harris, of Berwickshire, made an MBE for services to multi-faith education and community cohesion, and Borders College admissions officer Fiona McAllan, of Greenlaw, given a BEM for services to education.
Scottish Secretary and Borders MP David Mundell congratulated the country’s recipients of honours, saying: “Scotland’s honours recipients are superb ambassadors for Scotland.
“They truly deserve their recognition today, and I congratulate each and every one of them.
“It is right that we recognise the unsung heroes of our communities.
“The length and breadth of Scotland, an army of volunteers shows unstinting dedication, commitment and compassion week in, week out. These awards mark that hard work and selflessness.”
Celebrities given honours include rock star Ray Davies, actors Mark Rylance and Naomie Harris, tennis champion Andy Murray and athletes Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis-Hill.