Margaret Walker of the town’s Kenmount Drive was shocked to find the paper’s Special Projects Editor on her doorstep last Thursday with an envelope he had been entrusted to deliver to the former community champion.
John MacInnes said: “I have been a journalist more than 30 years, and even for me, this was a first.
"I received an email around three weeks ago from a former resident of Fife who explained that they wanted to make a cash donation by way of a gift to Margaret, but that it had to be done anonymously.
"Obviously my antennae was tweaked and the word ‘scam’ immediately came to the forefront, however after some due diligence, I was satisfied that the email was genuine.”
The anonymous benefactor explained in their email: “A few years ago, for some months, I tried via the SNP councillor in Kennoway to find out the steps in order to begin to try and present someone for a Queen’s honour. In looking, I felt the individual fit the criteria. They discouraged me by saying it was too hard to do and generally achieved by nominated groups of people. I then tried calling Fife Council and I can't recall specifically what they told me but I do know it was equally discouraging. I eventually gave up.
"I would not be alone in recognising her selfless kindness. She will be well regarded in this area. I don't wish to be insensitive here, but I am in a position to have worked alongside many who have done voluntary work because it did give them a sense of accomplishment, but I am also aware that often this is with a public profile and in ways that they gain benefits for their actions. Margaret is unique because in hidden ways, as well as more up-front ways, such as the endless list of good causes she has put her efforts and hands deep in her pockets to help others, often anonymously herself, she has sought nothing in return.
“Some of the causes she has involved herself in is being that good neighbour who has fed and visited when they have not wanted others to know they are ill or struggling. She has collected for many causes than could ever be counted. Margaret has even put her own life and health on hold to put others before herself.
"She spent years spending hundreds and hundreds of pounds decorating her garden as a source for people to donate money for specific causes. There is not much that goes on that she does not bake, make, rally, defend, and speak up for in her own very quiet way to help others.”
Margaret, once she had recovered from the shock, said: “I am flabbergasted. This has come out of the blue and I have no idea why I’ve been selected. I don’t do anything special other than what might be expected of anyone in a position to help their friends, neighbours, charities and the like.
"Anything I’ve done – like the Christmas lights displays for charity – I’ve done to brighten up someone else’s day, someone who could be struggling, with nowhere to turn, and why wouldn’t I?
“It’’s true, the light displays have probably raised around £5,000 over the years, and I’ve donated that to a number of local causes, CHAS, Victoria Hospital, Kennoway Medical Centre to name a few, but I’ve never felt the need to brag or shout about it.
"In any event, it’s not all about me. I’ve had lots of help from other people, whether it’s making wedding cakes, gingerbread houses, selling raffle tickets and the like.
"Seeing those who have been helped is all the gratification I ever needed, but this donation is extremely generous, and I only wish I could thank the benefactor properly, but hopefully they’ll see this article.”