A record-breaking Perthshire swimmer, who has made tens of thousands of pounds for local charities, has been recognised in the New Year Honours list.
Colleen Blair was among charity workers, volunteers and professionals from across Tayside and Fife have been awarded for their endeavours in the New Years Honours.
Colleen, who at the age of 20 became the youngest person to swim the Channel, said she initially thought the MBE – for services to swimming – was a “wind-up”.
The 42-year-old, from Aberfeldy, said: “It took a while to sink in.
“I feel that this is an honour not just for me, but for my team who have been at my side over the years.
“My parents have always been there for me, and I have been lucky to work with my coach and my hero Ian Reid, from Dundee.”
Colleen was the first to swim the North Minch; the first Scot to achieve the Triple Crown; the first to swim Pentland Firth; the first to swim the length of Loch Tay and one of only a few who have swum the Northern Channel.
Coaching since she was 14, she has mentored more than 1,000 swimmers.
Colleen, who is a regional swimming development manager and stayed at Birkhill, has raised more than £25,000 for causes such as Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance, Asthma Research and the RNLI.
Former banker Jackie Campbell, BEM, who lives in Invergowrie, receives an honour for her voluntary work raising funds for Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS).
She has been raising money for the charity – which provides a full family support service for babies, children and young people with life-shortening conditions – since 2016.
She receives the British Empire Medal for her services during the Covid-19 crisis, working to keep donations coming in despite charity shop closures and other huge challenges in the sector.
She heads up a group of about 30 local volunteers, who have raised more than £57,000 in 2020, breaking the previous year’s fundraising total.
During the first lockdown she raised hundreds of pounds creating knitted goods to be sold in the charity’s shops as well as care boxes for hospice staff.
She said was inspired by a trip to CHAS hospice Rachel House in Kinross 2016.
“I expected to come out feeling a bit upset and a bit sad but I came out the complete opposite. I came out feeling energised and even more enthused about raising money for them,” she said.
She said had been sworn to secrecy until yesterday evening, but was looking forward to telling her mother.
“The only person that knew was my husband. But I will give my mum a call before she goes to her bed tonight.”
CBE awards for professor and golfing stalwart
Leading surgeon Professor Ian Finlay, of Kilconquhar, was awarded a CBE for services to medical education and training.
He is part of the Scottish Government’s Health Workforce Directorate and chaired the UK Shape of Training Steering Group, which was tasked to advise minsters how doctors’ training needed to change to meet the rapidly changing needs of patients.
Prof Finlay is a consultant colorectal surgeon at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
Peter Dawson, Secretary of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and Chief Executive of the R&A since 1999, is to be awarded a CBE for services to golf. The honour joins the OBE he received in 2015.
Kinross pensioner Fiona Symon has been made an MBE for her services to Maritime Heritage.
Fiona campaigned to get recognition for one of the worst disasters in British maritime history.
Her father was one of around 6,000 servicemen and civilians who went down with the Lancastria in June 1940.
As chairwoman of the Lancastria Association, she petitioned Downing Street to have the site formally designated as a war grave, and helped coordinate a gathering to mark the 75th anniversary of the tragedy.
Former Dundee City Council chief executive David Dorward, the chairman of Dundee Bairns, has been honoured an MBE for services to children and families in the city.
The 66-year-old has focused on charity and voluntary projects since his retiral from local government in 2014.
Dundee Bairns has provided more than 300,000 meals for local children and has become a blueprint for similar schemes.
In his current role as local associate director of the Rank Foundation, Mr Dorward also manages the distribution of over £3 million of funding to charities, community groups and social enterprises.
Dundee University’s emeritus professor of microbiology Geoffrey Codd receives an MBE for services to water quality.
Professor Codd, who lives in Longforgan, has investigated toxic blue-green algal blooms for the last 35 years.
His laboratory has served as a centre for analysis and toxicity assessment for several national water authorities, environmental and health agencies.
Rewards for services to healthcare and sport
Senior physiotherapist Rosemary Brewster MBE, dedicated her career to improving the quality of life of palliative patients in Tayside.
In 1981 she began working in Bridge of Earn, before moving to Perth Royal Infirmary.
She returned to NHS Tayside in 1990 to work with the palliative care team at Roxburghe House. She retired in March 2020 after 30 years with the team.
Robert Dick from Cupar is to receive an MBE for services to disability sport.
As head coach of Scotland Disability Bowls, Bob coached the men’s Scotland national team to medal posiitons at World Championships and Commonwealth Games.
Lynda Colston from Leven has been awarded the MBE for services to mental health learning.
Lynda, who has worked for the DWP for 47 years, designs staff training products for staff to help them deal with mental health issues and behaviours.
Marie Shevas from Kelty also receives the MBE for services to charity.
Marie, who has been raising money for various charities – both at home and abroad – for 40 years, said she was astonished to be honoured.
Fife funeral director John Gilfillan, 66, of Cardenden, whose work has included supporting military families was “shocked and emotional” to receive the BEM.
He was recognised for services to the bereaved and also his contribution to the Benarty community.
A former warrant officer with the Black Watch, Mr Gilfillan was asked by the Army to support service families and conduct military funerals for soldiers killed in action in war zones including Iraq and Afghanistan.
Richard Stibbles, a British Red Cross volunteer from Perth, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his work during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 40-year-old ambulance crew volunteer left his home in Scotland at the start of the pandemic and volunteered to do three deployments in London.
He worked 10-hour days in full PPE transporting to hospital patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 and other patients to care homes or to their families.
Richard was just 10 when he first became a Red Cross volunteer.
Another BEM winner from Perth and Kinross is George Andrew Middlemiss, who chairs the local branch of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association.
Mr Middlemiss was awarded for his voluntary services to ex-service personnel.
Jennifer Ann McArtney, 57, from Monifeith has been awarded a BEM for services to squash.
She has worked to promote the sport, including developing junior and female initiatives at Forthill and organised the last three Tayside and Fife Masters competitions.
The 83-year-old honorary chieftain of Burntisland Highland Games has been awarded the BEM.
David Adamson said he was “very excited and didn’t believe it” when he found out he had been included for services to athletics and the community in Burntisland.
Mr Adamson was chieftain of the Burntisland games for 12 years and as honorary chieftain, opened the last two events held before the pandemic.
Kirsty Baird, 53, who runs Sing in the City choirs across Fife, Edinburgh and the Lothians, has also been awarded a BEM.
Along with her fellow Sing in the City musical director Annette Hanley, Ms Baird recorded a charity single called Follow the Rainbows during lockdown, which raised £5,900 for the Scottish Association for Mental Health.