British Empire Medal for local charity stalwart Nan Middleton

A local hero who has been at the heart - and art - of the community for nearly 40 years has been presented with a prestigious award.

Nan Middleton receives her British Empire Medal

Nan Middleton has been honoured with a British Empire Medal (BEM) in recognition of her outstanding contribution to arts and crafts - and volunteering.

Her amazing work has changed thousands of lives - providing people of all ages and abilities with new skills and chances to be creative.

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Nan, from Milngavie, has spent nearly 40 years working in communities around East Dunbartonshire, founding the Creative Care charity in 1999.

In 2010, Nan and the charity set up home in Brackenbrae House, in Bishopbriggs, and have never looked back.

Between 150 and 200 people attend Brackenbrae House every week, with an extensive programme for adults with special needs.

Nan and Creative Care are famed for their magical skills with 3D decoupage - the art of layering paper to create a 3D effect. Classes are also held on beading, jewellery and embroidery.

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire, Rear Admiral Michael Gregory OBE, presented Nan with her BEM at an Investiture in the Council headquarters in Kirkintilloch earlier this month.

Mr Gregory praised her “phenomenal work” and highlighted the achievements of the “amazingly helpful” Creative Care.

Nan - a mother of three and grandmother of five - was joined at the Investiture by her loving family, as well as patrons and management of Brackenbrae House.

She said: “I’ve had a smile on my face for months - ever since I got the phone call from the Palace. It’s just absolutely wonderful.

“When people come to Brackenbrae House we want them to feel needed, wanted, loved and appreciated - and they do.

“We’ve had the same management group for many years and they are wonderful. It’s amazing to think there are no paid employees at Creative Care.

“I want to thank all my family and everyone at the charity for their support - I couldn’t do this without you.

“I would also like to thank the Council for its support. As soon as we saw Brackenbrae House, it felt like home.”

Also attending the Investiture were Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Miss Gill Aitkenhead MBE, and Deputy Lieutenant Mrs Morag Hart MBE JP DL, member of the Honours & Awards Committee, who read the citation.

Music was provided by Bearsden Academy’s senior strings - organised by East Dunbartonshire Council’s Instrumental Music Service.

Provost Una Walker said: “I don’t know of anyone who deserves a BEM more than Nan. She has been an inspiration to many people locally and touched so many lives.

“The work at Brackenbrae House is absolutely wonderful - there’s always such a lovely atmosphere when you go in.

“I’m delighted that the Council was able to help Creative Care with the move to Brackenbrae - first suggested by Cllr Rhondda Geekie - and wish them all the very best for the future.”

Creative Care began life as the Scottish School of Decoupage in 1978 and quickly developed a tremendous reputation. Since moving to Brackenbrae House in September 2010, tireless volunteers have raised more than £100,000 for improvements - including a lift, windows, heating and toilet facilities.

Creative Care received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2013 - the highest award which can be given to volunteer groups across the UK.