Caring Burntisland woman named Community Award winner

Willi (centre) at Burntisland Heritage Centre with Iain Archibald and George McLauchlan.
Willi (centre) at Burntisland Heritage Centre with Iain Archibald and George McLauchlan.

The winner of the Burntisland Community Award for 2019 is Willi Henderson.

Willi (81) of Cromwell Road, Burntisland was named as the recipient of the annual award for her caring attitude towards others in her community as well as her service to the town.

She has been a dedicated volunteer at Burntisland Heritage Centre for over 23 years, helping to ensure the centre is open to the general public, as well as showing people around and helping to organise the annual summer exhibition.

She was also a volunteer aid worker with the Fife Romanian Appeal, after being persuaded to get involved by Aileen Braid, and made two visits to the country taking aid to families and children.

In addition, after coming to Fife from Edinburgh where she worked as a PA, she regularly fostered children, as well as helping out with the children of family and friends.

Alex MacDonald, chairman of Burntisland Community Council, said she had been voted the winner by an overwhelming majority.

She was told about the award this morning (Hogmanay).

Mr MacDonald said: “It’s fair to say that she was absolutely gobsmacked.

“Willi is a very caring and supportive person who clearly did not imagine she would ever have been nominated, let alone be chosen as the winner.

“As ever, she was gracious and courteous, whilst being at the same time absolutely over the moon.

“She had been persuaded to do some work at the heritage centre yesterday morning and that’s where I found her. I’m confident that she floated home!”

A date has still to be set for the award presentation.

“We had a strong field of excellent nominations this year which made our decision particularly difficult,” he added.

“However, Willi stood out because of her fundamental compassion for other people across every aspect of her life.

“In recent years she has been a regular volunteer with Burntisland Heritage Trust and even there her welcoming and supportive manner towards visitors and enquirers has reflected the very best of our community spirit.”

Willi told the Press she was “completely overwhelmed and honoured” to receive the award.

“I wondered why I was being asked to go down to the Heritage Centre to go over the schedule on Hogmanay, and when Alex popped in I knew there was something up!

“From the minute I moved to Burntisland the people have welcomed me and I was certainly made to feel at home.

“I love living here and I love my house and neighbours and working at the Heritage Centre.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be given this honour.”

Willi has one daughter, Alison, who lives in Cheshire.