New Year’s honours for worthy duo

Donna Hendry
Donna Hendry

Levenmouth and the East Neuk celebrated a pair of worthy recipients when the Queen’s New Year Honours list was announced.

Commitment and dedicated service to their professions over a long period of time have earned an MBE for Donna Hendry, a paramedic team leader with the Scottish Ambulance Service, and a BEM for Bill Hughes, a key figure in the East Neuk fishing industry for nearly half a century.

Bill Hughes

Bill Hughes

Both told the Mail it meant a lot to be put forward by their contemporaries for such prestigious accolades.

Bill (66), from a fishing family, has been secretary-manager of the Fishermen’s Mutual Association (FMA) in his native Pittenweem since 1973, having joined as an apprentice fish auctioneer in 1967.

The FMA was the co-operative owned by fishermen, set up to support them in all aspects of their work.

Bill also participates as secretary of the Fife Fishermen’s Association, the local industry’s political wing.

Acknowledging the role also of Fife Council in a widely-changing industry, Bill said he had always liked working for Fife fishermen, while hehoped the village of Pittenweem would continue to have a strong presence in the east coast of Scotland’s fishing industry.

Bill, a grandfather of two, said anyone kind enough to nominate him for the award had possibly done so because of his continued commitment over many decades to keeping a fishing industry in the village.

“I am accepting this medal on behalf of the fishermen I have worked with, over the years, who have landed their catches through this village and through the FMA,” he said.

Donna Hendry (43), from Leven, has had a lifelong interest in fitness, health and wellbeing, and actively encourages others to enjoy the benefits.

The ex-Kirkland High School pupil – who said she was surprised and “absolutely chuffed to bits” to gain her award – joined Leven ambulance station in 1994, mentored by team leader Alan McIntyre.

Early in 2012, she was promoted to paramedic team leader in Dunfermline, moving the following year to Cowdenbeath.

Heavily involved in staff health and wellbeing promotions, as well as her regular duties, Donna said she tried to be positive and enthusiastic about everything and that outlook was helped by a love of exercise and fitness, which could help people in many ways.

“The best thing about this job is the people you meet,” she added. “You meet different types of people from all walks of life and you see them at their most vulnerable – and you get to help them.”