Queen’s birthday honours for Skye volunteers and Harris GP

Alastair Nicolson’s voluntary work has helped bring in thousands for Cancer Research – like this donation last year from the Skye Junior Pipe Band

A pair of tireless cancer research fundraisers from Skye and a former Carbost head teacher who volunteers at the local Citizens Advice Bureau are among those named on the Queen’s birthday honours list.

Alastair and Helen Nicolson have selflessly supported and worked extremely hard over the last 30 years for Cancer Research UK, a charity they instigated on the Isle of Skye.

They have both been awarded the British Empire Medal.

Every year Skye is able to present a cheque to Cancer Research Scotland for a huge amount. In 2014 it was £40,000 – an extraordinary feat when you consider the population of the island. The couple’s lives often revolve around planning, organising and being involved in fundraising on behalf of and to the benefit of this very worthwhile cause. They have taken the lead in organising a series of events each year for this charity and these events have grown to become must attend events in the community. Their drive, commitment and unstinting enthusiasm inspires a vast number of the Skye population to support Cancer Research.

Alastair (74) and Helen (63) first started fundraising in 1986 by doing door-to-door collections with a couple of tin cans. This fundraising quickly grew from those few cans to a year-round series of major events raising almost £900,000 from a small island with a population of only 10,000.

Such is their support for Cancer Research that year on year their total amount raised continues to increase.

Jessie Donaldson was also awarded a BME for voluntary service to the community on Skye.

The retired head teacher from Carbost has worked as a volunteer adviser at the Skye and Lochalsh Citizens’ Advice Bureau since 2004. During her time there she has responded to thousands of enquiries.

In addition to her exceptional advising abilities she is always at the forefront promoting the services of CAB to the local community. She also gives her time willingly to raising funds for the Bureau throughout the year. She organises local community events including parties and outings for those in need. She meets everyone with a warm welcome and a cheery smile not only at CAB but also as a representative of other charities including; Lucky 2bHere, where she helped raise funds for a defibrillator in 2011; Friends of Portree Hospital and Minginish Lunch Club.

She is on the committee of a ladies networking association and a member of the Minginish Community Council.

Harris doctor Andrew Naylor has been awarded an MBE for services to healthcare in the Western Isles.

The 54-year-old not only looks after the medical needs of the Leverburgh Practice, but also takes an interest in the general well-being of the community. He is renowned for his willingness to turn up whatever the time of night or weather and to do so with extreme promptness.

He operates a no appointment necessary scheme and will spend ample time explaining and advising patients on treatment required. He has been a very valued and useful member of the Harris Locality Planning Group since its inception in 2007 and his expertise on health matters is relevant and constructive.

He has for many years offered informed support to the local councillor in trying to access better health and emergency services for this remote area of the Western Isles. He has shown great support for the Crossroads (Harris) Care Attendant Scheme which is a domiciliary respite care service and his sensitivity to the needs of his patients is demonstrated by the number of carers he refers to them for respite.