New Year honours for Wemyss and Neuk locals

Artist Heather Cunningham, who has been given the British Empire Medal. Picture by George McLuskie.

Artist Heather Cunningham, who has been given the British Empire Medal. Picture by George McLuskie.

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The New Year’s Honours List has recognised the considerable achievements of three extraordinary local people.

Christine McCoy, Ronald Webster and Heather Cunningham were three of the 1,044 candidates that were selected at BEM, MBE and OBE level to receive an honour in the 2016 list.

Ronnie Webster, who has been recognised for services to tennis in Scotland. Picture by George McLuskie

Ronnie Webster, who has been recognised for services to tennis in Scotland. Picture by George McLuskie

Christine McCoy from West Wemyss received an MBE for services to social equality.

The 61-year-old is VisitScotland’s accessible tourism manager and has spent the last four years ensuring accommodation and services across the country are fully accessible to people with disabilities, the elderly and families with young children.

Heather Cunningham, a retired primary school teacher from Pittenweem, has been awarded the British Empire Medal, for services to the community and arts. A teacher at Colinsburgh Primary for 25 years, Heather turned her hand to many voluntary activities stating the 30 years as a Sunday school teacher being some of her most rewarding.

“I love working with children and there was quite a flock of them at during my time there.”

Taken by complete surprise by the nomination, Heather hadn’t appreciated just how much she had put into the community: “I never thought about it as I was going along and I really appreciate the effort it took from those who nominated me.”

As well as helping to run the local Cubs unit, Heather also started the first playgroup in the East Neuk, served on the committee of the East Neuk Fife Pipeband and is still involved with the ‘Pittenweem in Bloom’ project, where she instigated the ‘Re-Cycle’ Floral Bikes around the town.

Humbled and surprised by his nomination, Ronald Webster (78), from Crail was awarded an MBE for services to Tennis in Scotland. A former president of the Lawn Tennis Association’s central district, current secretary at St Andrews Lawn Tennis Club and playing partner to Andy Murray’s grandfather Roy Erskine, Mr Webster is most proud of establishing an indoor tennis centre at Stirling University: “It took a great effort to persuade people to put the money up but it has provided such an brilliant facility since being built.”

Mr Webster also believes that without such facilities players such as Andy and Jamie Murray would not have had sufficient opportunity to develop their skills.

He has also successfully organised the installation of two tennis courts and a multi-use games area in Crail. Mr Webster hopes he experiences the same success in St Andrews, where indoor tennis courts are much needed: “We desperately need an indoor tennis centre but haven’t raised the necessary finance. If someone more active than me could get it up and running, it would be great for the area.”