Service with a smile sees Jean honoured with BEM
A WOMAN who has served the community with a mixture of friendliness and discretion has received Royal recognition.
Jeannette Robinson, or Jean as she prefers, has run the Lochaline Snack Bar on the old pier for nearly 30 years.
Her commitment has now been recognised as she received a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
The news came as a surprise to Jean who said: ‘I was in tears. I am still in shock.
‘I have been here for 27 years and it’s just a really nice thing to be recognised. I’ve met so many lovely people over the years.’
The notice came through on the June 11, the day of the Queen’s official birthday.
Jean had actually found out the day earlier, but is well versed in the art of secrecy thanks to her former job and she continues to use these skills at the snack bar.
The 71-year- old added: ‘I definitely have crossed paths with some celebrities – it’s been lovely to meet them but what I always say is that they are on their holidays, so I am very discreet and never talk about who I’ve met.
‘I worked for the Ministry of Defence in my past life so I had to sign secrecy acts and I guess that’s just stayed with me.
‘I was sworn to secrecy about this award as well, which was difficult, but helped make the whole thing more fun.’
Jean has two grown up children and despite them living away from home, she keeps the cafe opened all year, apart from January, to feed and greet hungry sailors. Jean hasn’t yet found out who is responsible for her nomination, but considering she helps tourists find their way and offers assistance to the emergency services from time to time, she believes there could be a few ‘culprits’.
Jean told The Oban Times: ’I don’t know who would have nominated me.
‘There could be a few people that might have been thoughtful enough but I have just enjoyed my time here and loved meeting everyone.
‘It’s a hub of the community down here on the pier, so it has been nice as my family are living down south – they are educated and have started lives of their own.
‘My daughter is a carer so she gets that side from me and my son is a chef and he gets the cooking side from me, so that makes be very happy.’
Jean believes she will be presented with the award locally, but she hasn’t heard when or where exactly the event may take place, however she is really looking forward to it and said she ‘ will need to buy a frock’ for the occasion.
Jean who is to be presented with a BEM is looking forward to a few more years running the Lochaline Snack Bar. Photograph: Anthony MacMillan Photography