A can-do attitude for 40 years resulted in Ros receiving MBE

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For the past 40 years, Ros Blair has been supporting and empowering girls and young women in the East Dunbartonshire area.

The Girlguiding volunteer has been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours for her dedicated voluntary work.

Ros (74) received an MBE in recognition of her work with Girlguiding Scotland and the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), which helps people with additional needs enjoy the benefits of horse-riding.

Now vice president for Girlguiding Dunbartonshire, Ros has also held a wide range of volunteer roles with the organisation.

A former Brownie and Guide herself, she volunteered as a leader with her daughter’s Brownie unit, going on to become a chair of the local Brownie camping house and, finally, County Commissioner of Girlguiding Dunbartonshire.

She has helped with Guide camps and trips to Netherurd, Girlguiding Scotland’s outdoor centre, and the Isle of Mull.

Ros has also been an active volunteer with the RDA for 40 years, first at Kilmardinny in Bearsden and then at Summerston in Maryhill.

During that time she became an RDA coach and continues to instruct classes.

She was a member of the RDA Board of Trustees Glasgow Group for 12 years.

Ros, from Milngavie, said: “It was a huge surprise to receive the letter advising me of the award of an MBE.

“I felt, of course, very honoured and humbled to have been chosen.

“The honour was in recognition of Girlguiding Scotland and Riding for the Disabled, amazing teams in which I have played a part.

“I have been privileged to volunteer with Girlguiding Scotland since my elder daughter started as a Brownie and I’ve enjoyed lots of different roles.

“As the leading charity for girls and young women in the country, it offers girls, aged from five and upwards, a space where they can enjoy new adventures, learn skills, make new friends – and, of course, have loads of fun.

“As a former Brownie and Guide, Girlguiding gave me some unforgettable experiences and I loved having the opportunity to return as a volunteer to support and empower many more girls and young women.

“I have also been fortunate since my younger daughter started at playgroup to have had the opportunity to be involved with Riding for the Disabled (RDA) as a volunteer.

“RDA is enormously beneficial to riders who have additional needs, be that physical or learning.

“RDA helps riders connect with a warm animal and gives them an opportunity to be in charge.

“Every week, there are magic moments when riders take a step forward, whether it is in riding ability or speech or contact made with their helpers. Our strapline at RDA is: It is what you CAN do that counts.

“In playing a role in these organisations I have gained far, far more than I have ever given and I am immensely grateful for that opportunity.”

Morag Hart, president of Girlguiding Dunbartonshire, was one of the first in line to congratulate Ros.

“Ros has dedicated 40 years to Girlguiding Dunbartonshire in a wide range of volunteering roles,” she said, “including Brownie Leader, Mentor, County Commissioner and now as our Vice President.

“With her open and friendly manner, Ros encourages and empowers both girls and other adult volunteers alike to enjoy new adventures, learn new skills, grow in confidence and be a force for good in their communities, not to mention giving girls a space where they can really be themselves and have fun.

“In every role, Ros has taken on responsibilities, accepted challenges and has brought outstanding qualities of wisdom, common sense, innovation and leadership.

“Her MBE is very well deserved and I am delighted that her service to Girlguiding in Dunbartonshire and Scotland has been recognised in this way.”

Michelle Fleming, office manager at Riding for the Disabled Glasgow, added: “Ros has been an inspiring and stalwart supporter – always going above and beyond for us.

“She has a brilliant rapport with the children and the volunteer team – seeing Ros is always a highlight of their visit.

“Ros has also supported our work through fundraising and as a trustee. We’re so glad to see her dedication and commitment has been recognised.”

To volunteer with Girlguiding Scotland, visit www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/get-involved.