Glasgow Scout leader secures MBE after being named in New Years Honours List for 40 years of voluntary service

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Gillian was head teacher at Kilsyth academy from 2005 to 2017 - and volunteered with the Scouts all throughout her career.

A dedicated Newton Mearns Scout volunteer is in ‘disbelief’ after being named in King Charles’ first New Year Honours List.

Gillian Macdonald Caldwell was shocked to find she was awarded an MBE for ‘Services to Scouting’ in the 2023 New Years Honours list. Gillian started volunteering 45 years ago. She began volunteering with her local scout group in 1997 in Netherlee as a Cub Scout Leader. For over four decades, Gillian has supported scouting in and around Glasgow (as well as nationally) across a variety of different voluntary roles.

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The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) is awarded to those who make an outstanding impact in their line of work. Gillian was recognised for her services to scouting including her former role as Deputy Chief Commissioner of Scouts Scotland which she held from February 2019 to July 2022.

Speaking about Gillian’s contribution to scouting in Scotland, Andrew Sharkey, Chief Commissioner of Scouts Scotland said: “Gillian has made a significant contribution to Scouting in Scotland and we are delighted that she has been recognised for her efforts with an MBE in the King’s New Year’s Honours List.

“Gillian has dedicated 45 years of service to helping young people develop important life skills through Scouting, both in Clyde Region and across Scotland. It is wonderful that her hard work and dedication have been recognised with this honour.”

Gillian remains actively involved with her local scout group in Crookfur, the 35th Glasgow, as the Group Scout Leader. Upon hearing the news of her award on Hogmanay, the group including representatives from all sections (Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers) made a surprise visit to her home to congratulate her. The Scout leader is supported in her endeavours by Karen Imrie, the Deputy Scout Leader.

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The former headteacher was visited by members of the 35th Scout group to congratulate Gillian on her MBEThe former headteacher was visited by members of the 35th Scout group to congratulate Gillian on her MBE
The former headteacher was visited by members of the 35th Scout group to congratulate Gillian on her MBE

Gillian, a retired Head Teacher, said: “I suppose my first reaction was one of disbelief, but it is certainly a huge honour to be recognised in this way. It is also great recognition of Scouting and the commitment of so many volunteers.

“My volunteering is a mixture of working with both young people and adults, but every volunteer activity is ultimately about providing fun and adventure for young people and contributing to their skills and development. That’s why volunteering with Scouts is so varied and fulfilling - more adults should have a go!”

Through the Scouts Gillian has reached the lives of generations of young Glaswegians - and made a massive impact on their development as well as making the 35th Scout Group a recognisable team in the local community supporting projects and local initiatives.

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