WEE COUNTY man Murray Cochrane has received the British Empire Medal, after being named on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his services to the community.

Lt. Colonel (ret.) Johnny Stewart, Lord Lieutenant for Clackmannanshire, made the presentation during a special ceremony held at Arndean on Monday, October 16.

The official government citation says that under his tenure The Cochrane Foundation, which was founded by his ancestors for the benefits of the people of Alva, went from strength to strength.

It states: “His leadership and guidance, on a purely voluntary basis, was invaluable in ensuring that the aims of the foundation have been fulfilled”. In addition, “his achievements have made a real difference to the quality of life of many in Alva”.

The ceremony and tea party was attended by 14 of Murray’s family and friends.

After the medal was presented, he said: “I am deeply honoured by this award.”

As director, Murray has given his time to The Cochrane Foundation for around 50 years, joining the board in 1967 and becoming chairman in 1969.

He held this role until 2014, when he handed it over to Martin Dunsmore, but continues to offer the benefit of his wisdom.

Lord Lt. Stewart said: “It was a privilege for me to present Murray with his British Empire Medal for all he has done for the people of Alva.

“It is really good news for him, Alva and the entire Wee County. This is the second time I have presented a BEM this autumn and I hope there will be many more in the months and years to come.”

The foundation was established through the generosity of the three Cochrane brothers (James, Charles and John) who were born in Alva and emigrated with their parents to America in 1865.

Distant relatives of Murray, they had much success in business but never forgot their roots and returned to visit Alva on occasions.

Their generosity and kindness established The Cochrane Foundation to support the needy in the town and also made a gift of the Cochrane Hall and Park and a donation to Alva Academy.

Murray now lives in Clackmannan but has spent most of his life in Alva. When it was announced that was he to be a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire he was praised for carrying this work on.

A Cochrane Foundation spokesperson said: “Over the ensuing 45 years Murray’s leadership and guidance of the foundation has been invaluable.

“His detailed local knowledge has helped to keep the foundation focused on the priority needs of the community. At the same time careful stewardship of the foundation’s legacy has seen a steady growth in the Cochrane brothers’ investment over this period.”