New Year Honours: recognition for Fifers for their commitment to sport, arts and community

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Fifers have been recognised in the New Year Honours List 2024. They are among over 100 Scots honoured in a list of 1200 recipients announced this evening for their exceptional achievements, with a focus on those who have given with generosity to others in need.

Actress Arabella Weir was awarded an MBE for her work with the arts and young people - and the leading role she has played in establishing the Festival of Ideas in Kirkcaldy.

An MBE also went to former regional councillor and journalist Andrew Arbuckle from Newburgh. He is a major fundraiser for the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI) - the significant revenue to the RSABI from his three books has provided vital financial support to assist the work of the charity which helps people in rural Scotland who are in mental, physical or financial difficulty.

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A holder of the Netherhope Award, the top UK award for agricultural journalism and the trophy for the best horticultural article in a UK-wide competition run by the Guild of Agricultural Journalists, Andrew is a much respected community figure. In February 2023, he was presented the National Farmers Union Scotland and National Farmers Union Mutual Ambassador Award for his outstanding contribution to Scottish agriculture.

Andrew Arbuckle and Arabella Weir were among those honoured for their work (Pics: Submitted/Fife Photo Agency)Andrew Arbuckle and Arabella Weir were among those honoured for their work (Pics: Submitted/Fife Photo Agency)
Andrew Arbuckle and Arabella Weir were among those honoured for their work (Pics: Submitted/Fife Photo Agency)

There was an MBE for Limekilns based Susan Walker as a trustee, ambassador and Chief Commissioner for Girlguiding Scotland. During this time she maintained her role as Brownie leader in her home town. Her organisation, preparation and chairing of Scottish Trustee Board meetings was thorough, allowing individual input and opinion. She promoted the necessity of updating the Promise to show the movement and welcomed girls of all faiths and none, soothing objections, smoothing the way for the change to be accepted.

Her strategic vision highlighted the necessity for a review of the county structure of Girlguiding Scotland. She oversaw the introduction of a programme to strengthen governance within the counties, giving clear guidance on what was expected of them,

Robert Nellies, president of Falkland Cricket Club, was honoured with a BEM for his services to the sport and the community. The 64-year old’s passion for cricket started when his father used to take him in his pram to Falkland’s home at Scroggie Park, and he made his senior debut in 1972, aged just 12. Predominantly an opening batsman, he accumulated over 11,000 runs for the club making him the second highest run scorer in its history. He has also held a number of positions on the committee, and,under his leadership the club has grown and developed into one of the most highly regarded in Scotland.

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Mr Nellies has coached in nine north east Fife primary schools for the last 12 years delivering over 420 taster sessions to over 2500 boys and girls. He was awarded a Police Scotland Good Citizen award in 2018.

A BEM also went to Pipe Major Robert Barnes of Methil and District Pipe Band for services to Young People and to the community in Levenmouth. As Pipe Major, his contribution to the Levenmouth community has been consistent throughout the last three decades. He has encouraged and nurtured young people to reach their potential both through piping and in life. He initially established the band using funds raised by playing at various events. He went on to single-handedly raise sufficient funds to equip the band with instruments and uniforms while also providing free one-to-one tuition to all the young people concerned.

On a voluntary basis, teaching bagpiping and chanter to children, his teaching has contributed to the promotion of traditional Scottish music, introducing young children to the instrument early in life and the benefits and enjoyment that can be obtained by playing a musical instrument. He runs Easter and summer schools introducing children and young people to bagpiping as well as enhancing the skills required to exist within the band, which is then applied to group working in life in general. Throughout lockdown he encouraged band members to continue playing thereby improving their mental well-being.

Approached by NHS Fife to take part in an event to afford staff an opportunity to reflect and share their own experiences during COVID, he readily accepted and his band members rallied to provide some stirring pipe music to lift spirits.

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Three academics from the University of St Andrews were also recognised for their services to education, mathematics and literature today (Friday 29 December).

St Andrews Regius Chair of Mathematics, Professor Kenneth Falconer, FRSE, has been awarded a CBE. He is a world-leader in fractal geometry, an area of mathematics concerned with shapes that have detailed structure at arbitrarily small scales.

Andrew Pettegree FBA, Professor of Modern History, has been awarded a CBE for services to literature. He has taught at St Andrews since 1986 and founded both the St Andrews Reformation Institute and the St Andrews Book History Research Group. Both have highly successful publication series. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2021.

Colva Mary Roney-Dougal is a Professor of Pure Mathematics and received an OBE for services to education and mathematics, marking a double celebration for the University's School of Mathematics.

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Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: "My warmest congratulations go to all the Scottish recipients of the King’s New Year Honours. Scots are well represented in His Majesty’s list, which showcases the best of Scottish talent - including sport, the arts, community, education, business, charity, policing and healthcare. This year, more than 100 Scots have been awarded honours. The achievements of such a diverse number of our fellow Scots is truly inspiring."

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