A FORMER nurse who dedicated to saving public facilities and helping residents in a Hillfoots village has been named as Clackmannanshire Citizen of the Year 2021.

Mary Laing, chairperson at Alva Development Trust, received the award at Arndean, near Dollar, last week for her continued work at the Cochrane Hall and around the village.

Through her work at the trust, she helped to ensure vulnerable residents did not go hungry during the pandemic.

In previous years, she's been instrumental in bringing the famous hall into community hands, recently re-opening the public toilets there – as reported in the Advertiser a few weeks ago.

Surprised and honoured to have received the award, presented by Lord Lieutenant Johnny Stewart, Mary insisted it all has been a real team effort with many volunteers giving their time and skills to help others and make Alva a nicer place to live and visit.

Mary, who served for 35 years before attending university, told the Advertiser: “It was such a great honour to get the award, we had a lovely visit, I was able to bring the rest of the team.

“Without them, we could not do it, it's a group endeavour here and everybody has played such a massive part in it – I was just the lucky person who was nominated.”

Mary, who studied heritage and conservation at university, got involved in saving the Cochrane Hall right after her course finished and it was the perfect cause to fight for.

She added: “We are going to carry on.

“Everything that we do is focused on the community.

“It's just to make it a nice place to live, which it already is – it's beautiful here.

“But we want everybody else to see that, we want people to come and visit, we want tourist to come back.”

Mary, who thanked LL Stewart for hospitality, was nominated for the award along with six others.

They included David Clifford for promoting charity values at Alva Academy, Janice Chalmers for her work with Girl Guides and the foodbank in Alva and Miriam Kazmarska for her various volunteering work.

There were also Margaret Ure and Sharon McCafferty from Love in a Box as well as Philip York who gives up his time and resources to collect litter at the West End Park.

Presenting the award to Mary, LL Johnny Stewart said: “Mary has truly demonstrated the virtue of good citizenship and especially since she became a member of the Alva Development Trust.

“She played a pivotal role in saving the Cochrane Hall for the community and throughout the pandemic has inspired others to volunteer and looked after the vulnerable of Alva.

“She thoroughly deserves the 2021 award.”