TWO community stalwarts who very much represent the spirit of Shetland have been honoured for their services to voluntary work, while the isles’ police area commander has also been recognised for his public service.
Willie Henderson and Nicola Stove have both been named in this year’s Queen’s New Year honours list to receive the British Empire Medal (BEM) in recognition of their services to the community.
Chief inspector Lindsay Tulloch will receive the Queen’s Police Service medal (QPM) – the highest honour awarded for policing service.
When Nicola Stove received an email about being included in this year’s New Year’s honours list, she initially thought it was a scam – such is her humble nature.
After a phone call she learned that receiving a BEM for services to the community during Covid-19 was indeed legitimate.
The British Red Cross worker from Lerwick, described as a “superb crisis manager who goes the extra mile locally”, said she was “extremely surprised” to learn of the news.
“I was extremely overwhelmed and humbled that people had thought to nominate me,” Stove said.
“And a peerie bit embarrassed because I’m not a person who ever does anything for myself being publicised. I’m kind of always in the background, so this kind of puts me in the foreground a peerie bit.”
Stove, 42, is the services manager for independent living in the north of Scotland, but during the pandemic she also became the Highland and Islands’ local resilience partner lead for British Red Cross’ north team.
She has overseen and coordinated volunteers and staff who have helped the community in a range of ways, which in Shetland has included providing welfare packs and food to folk in need.
Nicola also helped to co-ordinate welfare visits, patient transport, PPE distribution to care homes and surgeries, as well as providing assistance to several councils and food banks.
“Every area has been very different in what they’ve needed, but because I’m the local lead in a lot of every day stuff normally the connections were already there, so that made things a wee bit easier,” she said.
It’s fair to say it has been a busy year for Stove, who has had to juggle the workload of her job with a busy life back at home.
She described the initial stages of the pandemic as a “definite learning experience”.
“Every day there was something different that was a challenge,” Stove said.
She is keen to sidestep the limelight and is more than happy to praise the workers and volunteers in the British Red Cross team.
“It’s not really been about me, it’s been about the people that have seen what we’ve been doing and what the team has been doing, and knowing that has actually helped people is a big thing,” she said.
“I’ve never won a raffle, so it’s kind of a weird one, but I’m really humbled by it.”
Stove added that her mum passed away at the beginning of October, and she would have been “immensely proud” at her new honour.
Willie Henderson, also from Lerwick, has been awarded a BEM for a lifetime in giving to the local community.
The 85-year-old said his voluntary workload “has eased off a little bit” over the last two to three years – only to add that he still is the chairman of the Shetland Care Attendant Scheme and continues to sit on the board of Voluntary Action Shetland, the umbrella organisation that lends support to many local third sector groups.
Speaking from his home in Twageos Road Willie said he was surprised to hear that he was in line to be awarded such an accolade but then, of course, felt “honoured to have been selected”.
Working as housing manager until his retirement almost 30 years ago, Willie played an instrumental role in developing Hjaltland Housing Association, which today has more than 1,000 affordable homes on its books.
After taking early retirement at the age of 55, Willie could focus his energies on an impressive list of voluntary activities across Shetland.
“Generally people would say, ‘Willie could you do this?’”, he laughed when recounting the many activities he got involved in over the years.
He has served as secretary, treasurer and chair at many charities including Crossroads Shetland (Shetland Care Attendant Scheme).
He played an integral part in the setting up Crossroads Shetland nearly 20 years ago and has been on its board of directors since then, acting as chair for the last 15 years.
The charity, which now has been renamed Shetland Care Attendant Scheme, offers respite to unpaid carers.
He is also a member of the Hospital League of Friends, helping people in hospital by visiting, shopping, caring and assisting them when they are discharged back into the community.
Willie was the Shetland Pensioners Association organiser for 27 years and has recently retired from this role, where he prepared days out, bingo, raffles, and in-house entertainment.
He also leads the Shetland Befriending Scheme, Support for Carers and helps with passport applications and official forms; the list could go on.
So what drives him? The answer is easy: “The motivation, I think, is that I am a Shetlander, born and bred, and I wanted to help charitable organisations, I wanted to help pensioners and those who are in care.”
And he adds: “I feel honoured by it all, but there are many, many others in the community like myself who are involved in voluntary work.”
Chief inspector Lindsay Tulloch, meanwhile, said he was “extremely humbled” to receive the QPM medal.
“I am very fortunate and feel privileged to have the opportunity to be part of a team of dedicated people, not only within Police Scotland, but from partner agencies and the voluntary sector who continue to support and keep people in our communities safe,” he said.
Police Scotland said Tulloch has shown “outstanding leadership and organisational skills and met the challenge of introducing a positive policing model to the island’s communities and developing relationships with key partners”.
A spokesperson said that during the pandemic Tulloch’s “leadership and clarity of purpose undoubtedly help prevent unnecessary escalation”.
Shetlander Tulloch joined Northern Constabulary at Inverness in 1992 and transferred to Orkney in 1997.
In 2000, following a secondment to Inverness, he became a detective constable and was promoted to sergeant in 2003.
In 2006 he became a detective sergeant at Lerwick and in 2012 he was promoted to the rank of inspector at Thurso, transferring to detective inspector in public protection with responsibility for Caithness, Orkney and Shetland.
He returned to Shetland in 2014 taking over as area commander a year later.
Police Scotland’s chief constable Iain Livingstone QPM added: “Our officers, staff and volunteers are committed to public service and dedicated to helping others in all our communities.
“I extend my warmest congratulations to those recognised today for the significant contributions they have made to policing in Scotland.”
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