Mrs Helen Murchison, BEM

Mrs Helen Murchison, BEM

- 19/9/2015

Mrs Janet Bowen, Lord-Lieutenant for Ross and Cromarty, attended the Howard Doris Centre in Lochcarron to award Mrs Helen Murchison the BEM that she received for services to her community.

At the ceremony, held at the Howard Doris Centre before family and friends, Mrs Bowen said:

Helen has done so much I can only give a birds’ eye view of her achievements.

By their very nature small Highland communities are always seem to be facing one threat or another and Helen has always been at the forefront fighting for Lochcarron and Wester Ross, keeping their needs to the fore. As Chair of the Lochcarron Community Council she travels the Highlands representing the community and working to improve it.

In particular, with her early training as a nurse she has always had general health and healthy living on her agenda, and she was instrumental in the preservation of out of hours medical cover in Wester Ross.

Helen also played a central part in the construction and development of this place, The Howard Doris Centre, and continues to be a valued and active member of the management team. Bringing a project of this magnitude to fruition in the Western Highlands is a huge logistical and financial achievement involving many members of the Community, but Helen, as a founder member of the Strathcarron project has kept faith with it all along, and been a leading light in managing both its construction and staffing. I understand that the Princess Royal visited in 2007 (which was just before my time) to celebrate the centre’s first 10 years excellence in community care for the elderly.

But Helen has also been actively involved in many other projects. From the 60s when she was warden at the Youth Hostel, through to many years’ service in various capacities with the SWRI, to chairing the local branch of the Crofting Federation, to being a member of the Lochcarron Heritage Society and Woodland Trust, The Lochcarron Pier Trust, The Lochcarron Leisure Centre Company, The Smithy Heritage Society and the Wester Ross Alliance. Speaking personally, this leaves me weak at the knees, and I am certain many other projects will have benefited from Helen’s phenomenal energy, enthusiasm and devotion to serving her community.

On top of this I understand that Helen possesses two other special qualities. The first is that when she says she will do something she does it, not being put off by bureaucracy. Secondly, she puts her extensive local knowledge to good use by responding to enquiries from far and wide about family histories, all of which she happily responds to.

This is a really well deserved honour for a lady who has devoted her life to serving her community with common sense, steely determination and cheerfulness. It goes without saying that she is a much loved and admired friend to many.

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