Rewarded for service to their community

Veronica McDonald (pictured far left (kneeling)) as the Alma Club celebrated its 30th anniversary)
Veronica McDonald (pictured far left (kneeling)) as the Alma Club celebrated its 30th anniversary)

Two women have been rewarded for their work within the Motherwell community in the New Year’s Honours List.

Veronica McDonald, club leader of Firpark Alma Group, and Betty Blades, captain of 5th Motherwell Girls’ Brigade, will each be receiving a British Empire Medal.

Betty Blades

Betty Blades

Veronica, who has been recognised ‘for services to adults with special needs in North Lanarkshire’, helped found the Firpark Alma Club in 1981. It meets every Monday evening in Firpark Secondary.

Veronica said: “I was absolutely gobsmacked when I received the letter and it was hard work keeping it a secret for six weeks.

“The club is like a family. More than half of the 35 members have been coming since it was founded and I knew some of them even before then.

“This has become a great support network and I’m glad the group has been able to play such a big part in everyone’s lives.”

Betty, who has been recognised ‘for services to young people and the community in Motherwell’, began volunteering with 5th Motherwell, which meets in St Margaret’s Church, Muirhouse, in 1976 and was commissioned captain the next year.

In 1987 she introduced the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme to the company and has helped many 
girls to achieve this distinction through various projects and expeditions.

Betty said: “It has been a privilege to work with the hundreds of girls who have been part of our organisation and especially the young people in my own company 5th Motherwell.

“I would like to thank everyone who sent congratulations and best wishes.”