Unsung Scots heroes get New Year Honours recognition


A former rough sleeper who started a street soccer initiative and a 95-year-old charity worker have been included in the New Year Honours.

David Duke founded Street Soccer Scotland in 2009 after a period spent living on the streets of Glasgow.

Margaret Jamieson started charity work in the 1930s, and later established Orkney's Blue Door charity shop.

She said it was "a great honour" and the award was for the shop and all the staff who have worked there.

After the death of his father and problems with alcohol, Mr Duke was living on the streets in Glasgow when he saw an advert for the 2003 Homeless World Cup in Sweden.

He started training and was picked as part of the Scotland team which finished fourth at the competition.

Returning home, he got more involved in football coaching and led the Scotland team to World Cup victory four years later.

In 2009, Mr Duke founded Street Soccer Scotland (SSS) to help other people experience the transforming power of sport.

The 37-year-old said: "Our ethos is trying to help people help themselves with a bit of guidance and opportunity.

"Back in 2004 when I was in a difficult situation myself with homelessness and stuff like that, it was people who provided me with support and opportunities that allowed me to move out of that.

"We're just trying to repeat that and inspire others."

Community and charity work

He was taken by surprise by the award of an MBE and said it is recognition for all the staff and volunteers at Street Soccer Scotland.

Mr Duke said: "I got the letter in and it took me by shock, but really it's not just about me, it's recognition of the wider piece in terms of the work that all the staff and volunteers do."

Margaret Jamieson, known as Rita to friends and family around Orkney, was just 16 when she began doing charity work to provide people with furniture and goods they needed free of charge.

The 95-year-old said: "My parents had a farm and we had everything we needed, everything we wanted, more or less, and I thought there were other people going hungry or in need, so it was up to the ones who had plenty to see if they could help."

Ms Jamieson, who receives a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community and charity in Orkney, added: "I thought it was a great honour but I want it to be for the Blue Door and all the staff who have worked there over the decades."

A Childline volunteer has been awarded the British Empire Medal for her 12 years of voluntary work with the confidential counselling service which helps children cope with a range of problems including bullying, self-harm and suicide.

Helen Morton, 71, from East Kilbride started at the NSPCC-run service in 2005, working one shift a week at its Glasgow base.

She now also helps interview, train and mentor new counsellors, and has become a key member of the charity's volunteer team.

The mother-of-two and former Job Centre Plus manager said: "I'm absolutely thrilled to bits but I feel totally undeserving and quite embarrassed.

"It's lovely recognition. What I do for Childline is just part of my week and I get a lot from it, but it's just lovely. It's sad there is still a need for it but thank God it is there and there is somewhere for kids to turn to if they've not got anywhere else to go."

'Real surprise'

Alan and Jennifer McIntosh also receive BEMs in the honours list for their work with the Boys' Brigade.

They have been involved with the 1st Buckie Company for a combined total of 95 years.

Mr McIntosh said: "I first joined when I was eight years old and I'm company captain now at 63. Jennifer has been involved for about 40 years.

"Obviously we love it, it's such a big part of our lives."

Mrs McIntosh said they have been touched by the honour.

"It came as a real surprise, I mean you're not really doing this job for recognition," she said.

"There are lots of helpers and parents who help out but we are a husband and wife team, so it's lovely to both receive this.

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