Pat adds yet another string to her bow

Junior Citizen, Natasha Nelson, and Citizen of the Year, Pat Mitchell, with community council chairman Canon Pat McInally
Junior Citizen, Natasha Nelson, and Citizen of the Year, Pat Mitchell, with community council chairman Canon Pat McInally

She’s performed at the Royal Albert Hall; she’s been instrumental in raising over £180,000 for charity and she’s Cupar Rotary Club’s first-ever female president.

And now retired music teacher Pat Mitchell can add another string to her bow - she’s just been named as Cupar’s Citizen of the Year.

Pat, a well-known figure in a number of local organisations, was honoured this week by Canon Pat McInally, chairman of Cupar Community Council, along with 16-year-old Bell Baxter High School pupil Natasha Nelson, who has been named Junior Citizen.

The pair will have the honour tomorrow (Saturday) of switching on Cupar’s Christmas lights.

Pat said she was ‘delighted, honoured and amazed’ to have been chosen as Citizen of the Year, an honour given to her in recognition of her active involvement in the life of the town since she arrived here some 45 years ago.

Originally from Dunfermline, where she was educated, Pat attended the Royal Academy of Music in London and Bulmershe College, Reading.

Returning to Fife in 1970 to teach music at Bell Baxter, she went on to a promoted post at the school and retired in 2008.

Over the years, she has coached percussion in Fife Youth Orchestra and also in Fife Youth Choir, travelling with the groups to such places as Somerset and Orkney.

Pat instigated Bell Baxter’s music exchange with Baltimore in America and was instrumental in forming the school’s samba band, whose most notable performance was at Murrayfield in 2007 when Bell Baxter won the Scottish Schools Rugby Cup.

While a member of Lochgelly Brass Band she played in the Albert Hall, London, and has also performed with Fife Sinfonia.

She has also taken to the stage for Cupar Amateur Musical Society, dancing in the performance of ‘Magyar Melody.’

Away from music, she is a keen curler and a former president of the Cupar club.

She’s an elder of Cupar Old Parish Church and has been a member of Cupar in Bloom for 10 years.

Pat recently retired after more than 20 years as secretary of the Cupar Macmillan fund-raising committee, during which time a total of £182,500 was raised.

In July, she made a little piece of local history by becoming the being the first woman to be elected president of Cupar Rotary Club, when she reiterated her commitment to serving the local community.

This year’s Junior Citizen, Natasha Nelson, is a sixth year pupil at Bell Baxter and a corporal in the Army Cadets in Cupar.

She’s recently completed her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award.

Natasha was nominated because of her kindness towards pupils with additional support needs and often uses her free periods to help them with their reading and writing.

Since her brother, Alexander, was sadly stillborn just over five years ago, she’s also helped raise funds for the stillbirth and neo-natal death charity SANDS.

Canon Pat said: “I am delighted at the two people who have been chosen for their contribution and pleased that the Community Council acknowledge the efforts that local people make to raise the profile of the town.”