Several Borderers are among those to have been recognised for service to their communities in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Brian McLeod, Poppy Appeal convenor for Hawick, reflected on his work with the Royal British Legion Scotland after being appointed a medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM).
Brian served in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers before retiring with the rank of Colour Sergeant.
After leaving the army, he worked with Hawick’s Army Cadet Force as Platoon Commander, but he is most well-known for his role as convenor for the Poppy Appeal.
Brian said he felt the RBLS’ work remains as vital as ever.
“We have got to remember the sacrifices of our armed forces,” he said. “Hopefully if we remember the sacrifices made in World War One and Two, then the generations who follow us will be able to, as well, and they will never be forgotten.”
Brian is also secretary-treasurer of the Hawick branch of the RBLS, as well as its wellbeing co-ordinator.
“That can involve many things,” he said. “If we see an ex-serviceperson in difficulties, then we go an help them. That can be in terms of welfare, housing, stress or anything that affects them.”
Hawick’s Honorary Provost, Stuart Marshall, said of Brian’s recognition: “I was absolutely delighted to learn that Brian Macleod has been awarded the BEM in the Queens Birthday Honours.
“Brian is a man who works tirelessly for our town. He is a past community councillor and richly deserves to be honoured in this way.
“The immense amount of work that Brian does for our Poppy Appeal Fund is second to none and I know that the townsfolk will be thrilled to bits with this news.”
Also honoured with a BEM was Jessica Troughton, who has served the communities of Stow and Galashiels for the last 43 years.
Her community volunteering has included running a youth club in Stow, playgroups in Heriot and training young people for the Red Cross.
Nowadays, she focuses on the Gala water’s senior citizens, for whom she helps organise a monthly meet-up in partnership with the Gala Water Historical and Heritage Association. Jessica also plays a part in Stow’s patient transport scheme.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to bits,” she said, “but I am so lucky to be able to do these things. It’s not just me, there are so many people in Stow helping, and we have such a great community spirit.”
Linda Nicholson of Peebles was awarded a British Empire Medal for her services to sport in the region.
Linda set up Peebles Netball Club 10 years ago, after being disappointed that more was not being done to keep up girls’ interest in sports.
“I had always played,” she said this week, “and my two girls played in primary school, but no high schools in the Borders were offering netball.”
The club has gone from strength to strength, with two ex-Peebles players in the Scottish squad, and no fewer than 15 teams in the club’s colours.
In the decade it has been running, Linda and her team of volunteers have brought 21 national titles home, and maybe more importantly, got more young people into the sport, as well as adults returning to it.
“My two girls were able to play through to university age, and now even beyond that,” she said with pride.
Meanwhile Robert Haldane Smith, Lord Smith of Kelvin, who lives near Peebles, was appointed a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour, for public service in Scotland.
The Secretary of State for Scotland and Tweeddale MP David Mundell praised Lord Smith for his work as chair of the Devolution Commission following the ‘No’ vote in the 2014 independence referendum.
Mr Mundell said: “I am delighted that Lord Smith has been recognised in Her Majesty’s birthday honours list.
“Lord Smith’s strong leadership of the Scotland Devolution Commission created historic constitutional change for Scotland. “His thorough and thoughtful work has heralded a new era for Scotland and it was a real pleasure to work with him. Lord Smith is a truly deserving recipient of this honour.”