LAST week saw millions of people frantically logging onto their computers and enter a ballot to be in with a chance of securing a ticket for the Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace, but one Whitsome man didn’t have to go to such lengths to secure his recent invite to Britain’s most famous address.
You only have to look at the letters of recommendation made to the Cabinet on Ian Jarvie’s behalf to know that if there was ever a candidate for an MBE he was it, having clocked up close to 50 years of voluntary service.
He was nominated for the title by friend and fellow Whitsome resident Richard Walthew with Richard’s recommendation backed by two of Ian’s associates from his Borders-wide work, Trevor Burrows and Roger Hemming; Berwickshire Councillor Jim Fullarton and Alan Dewar, who Ian served with on Allanton, Edrom and Whitsome Community Council.
Ian and his supporters found out he was to receive his MBE in May last year before the Queen’s Birthday Honours List was made public in June.
Speaking to ‘The Berwickshire News’ that month Ian said he was shocked to be recognised and was very modest about his efforts over the years.
But the volume of voluntary work he has done throughout Scotland and the many letters and emails of congratulations he received when news of his honour spread, from the likes of Alex Salmond and SBC Convenor Alasdair Hutton, emphasise why he was singled out.
For 35 years Ian was an officer in the Boys Brigade and over the years he has dedicated his time to many organisations- the Association of Scottish Community Councils, Berwickshire Community Councils Forum, Scottish Borders Community Councils’ Network and Scottish Borders Rural Partnership to name but a few.
And he is still heavily involved with Whitsome Village Hall Association, Whitsome Enhancement Group and Scottish Borders Joint Community Safety Panel.
Ian’s professional career has seen him employed by Rolls Royce, Kincardine, Longannet and Torness power stations but unfortunately in 1996 he was forced to leave his job at the latter after being struck down with ME.
However, Ian never let the condition get the better of him and Richard said that when he first got to know Ian, he always was busy with one organisation or another.
“When I first met Ian I was beginning to wind down, heading for retirement myself,” he told ‘Life’.
“But Ian was an example to us all, he’d always have a meeting to go to and nothing was ever too much trouble.
“He’s very modest about everything he’s done but it’s quite amazing that come 2014 Ian will have completed 50 years of voluntary work.”
A few weeks after his trip to Buckingham Palace, the man himself was still very modest about his royal accolade.
“To receive something like an MBE is a big surprise and there are many others in the Borders who are just as deserving of the honour,” Ian said.
“It was a great occasion for myself and my family and any nerves I might have had were allayed by the palace staff who made everyone feel extremely relaxed.
“I have just received a DVD recording of the ceremony and apparently there were 107 of us there on the day. I got to spend around about 15-20 seconds with Prince Charles but it seemed longer than that at the time.
“We spoke briefly about funding issues and it was nice that he noticed the Boys Brigade button hole badge I was wearing. He made me feel welcome.”
The man appreciated by so many may not be in these parts for much longer as building has started on a new house for Ian and his wife Mary in Blebo Craigs, Fife. However, before he moves onto pastures new there are a few more Borders-related aims he would like to meet.
“It would be very satisfying if we were to finally have quality broadband in Whitsome before I leave- that is one of the last remaining things I’d really like to achieve. And I’d really like to see the recently established Borders Energy Agency prosper and make a difference to communities who don’t always have the capacity to get things done like we have done in Whitsome.”