Local heroes honoured
A NUMBER of people from the Highlands and Islands are to be recognised in this year’s Queen’s birthday honours.
Robert Ryan, 79, will receive an MBE for services to weaving and the economy on the Isle of Mull.
The original Isle of Mull Weavers was founded by Robert and Kathy Ryan in 1987. When they retired in 2003 Robert helped move the 1920s and 1950s looms to Ardalanish. He then advised on, and helped build, the viable weaving operation and trained young apprentices to carry on the skilled work, which has rejuvenated a small agricultural community in the Ross of Mull.
A Scottish scientist who became one of the world’s foremost researchers in deep sea ecology has been awarded the OBE.
Edinburgh-born John Gordon, who lives in Easdale, Isle of Seil, spent his whole research career at the Oban-based Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) after completing a PhD at Edinburgh University.
Dr Gordon began his research in the shallow waters of the Firth of Lorn, but with the commissioning of the RRS Challenger in 1974, he moved into deeper waters (500-1,500 metres) to the west of Scotland’s continental slope, working on the biology of the bottom-living fish. His work contributed greatly to knowledge of food chains in the deep sea and how commercial trawling affects fish populations in deeper water.
Dr Gordon said: ‘I was greatly surprised and honoured to be recommended for an OBE for services to science. I had to go back several times to the letter to make sure it was true.’
Jeanette Robinson, 71, of Oban will receive a BEM for services to the community in Morvern.
Mrs Robinson runs the only cafe in the area and also acts as an unpaid tourist information worker, pier-mistress, dog minder, coast-watcher, litter-picker and provider of food and help for emergency services when required. For more, turn to page 11. Jessie Brown Watson Donaldson, 72, from Skye will receive a British Empire Medal (BEM) for voluntary service to the community on the island. Mrs Watson Donaldson is a volunteer generalist adviser for the Skye and Lochalsh Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), and she is also a committed fundraiser and organiser of community events.
Alistair and Helen Nicolson, aged 74 and 63 respectively, will be awarded a joint BEM for services to Cancer Research UK on Skye.
Mr and Mrs Nicolson set up a branch of the charity on the island and have worked tirelessly over the past 30 years to help raise more than £800,000 on the island.
Andrew Naylor, 54, will be given an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to healthcare on the Isle of Harris.
A GP at the Leverburgh surgery, Dr Naylor is known for his willingness to attend patients at any time and his ‘no appointment necessary’ system. He is also a great supporter of Crossroads Care Attendant Scheme.
And Shirley Spear, co-owner of the Three Chimneys on the Isle of Skye and chair of the Scottish Food Commission, is awarded an OBE for services to the food and drink industry in Scotland.
Shirley said: ‘I am absolutely honoured to receive this award and the news was completely unexpected.
‘My first thought is to say how much I would like to share this with everyone I have worked with closely over the past 31 years towards improving Scotland’s food and drink industry, especially my husband Eddie and my children, Sarah, Steven and Lindsay.’
Robert Ryan from Mull, left, and John Gordon from Easdale have both been honoured by the Queen.