Saturday, 20 July 2013

Jessie Colquhoun MBE: A Unique Investiture

The Lord Lieutenant of Inverness, Donald Cameron of Locheil, the Queen's representative in Lochaber, made one thing very plain from the start of Jessie's investiture this afternoon: the ceremony was, in his experience, quite unique. Investitures happen in places like Holyroodhouse or Buckingham Palace, not in far away places like Kilchoan.  Nevertheless, he felt that this exception was fully justified for someone whose dedication to her community had gone far beyond the call of mere duty.

Speaking in front of a large crowd of local residents in a marquee on the playing fields at Kilchoan Community Centre, he described how Jessie had been a nurse for fifty years, District Nurse on West Ardnamurchan for 36 years, she had been school nurse, midwife, and much more.  She was the Scottish 2009 Nurse of the Year.  And she is now one of West Ardnamurchan's new Emergency Responders, and a Marie Curie nurse.

Presenting Jessie with her MBE on behalf of the Queen, the Lord Lieutenant said that she deserved this exceptional treatment not just for her skills, "but for the manner in which they have been used".  She has been "exceptionally diligent", and had "devoted her life to her community."

He finished by suggesting that we, as a community, should be very proud of her.

In reply, Jessie explained why she had asked for the ceremony to be held in Kilchoan.  She could not have worked alone.  Everything she had done over the decades has been with other people, and she had been fortunate that so many of those good people had gathered for this ceremony.

They included the District and Community Nurses with whom she had worked; the Strontian and air ambulances, and the Scottish Ambulance Service; the local practice doctors, nurses and staff, and the surgeons from the Belford Hospital in Fort William; the home carers; the police, fire brigade and coastguard; the parish clergy, the undertakers and many more.

Everyone to whom Jessie had referred gathered after the ceremony for a group photograph with Jessie and the Lord Lieutenant.  It was a wonderful coming together of people who had served the community with Jessie, and a very fitting way of honouring her service.

Afterwards a superb buffet was served by the staff of Glenborrodale Castle, part of the Ardnamurchan Estate.  The weather was perfect.  A very enjoyable time was had by all.

Just then, a visitor to the peninsula arrived who had been stung while swimming and had lost the use of his arm.  He could hardly have chosen a better moment for his emergency: as a surgeon, ambulance staff, and Emergency Responders gathered round him, others tried to prevent Jessie from getting involved.  They needn't have worried: she was busy handing round cake to her guests.

Many thanks to Ricky Clark for some of the pictures.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderfully thoughtful and generous way to "share" the award. Obviously very well deserved. Well done Jessie!
    Peter C