A man who has “dedicated his nights and days” to serve the community of Aboyne and Deeside for more than 50 years has received a British Empire Medal.
Brian William Paterson has held the beautiful area of Deeside dear to his heart ever since he moved to Aboyne in 1956 at the age of nine.
Now 73 years old, the former Aboyne Academy janitor looks back to his life in the village with nothing but “endearment, love and joy” for the years he has spent serving his community.
Mr Paterson has been an integral part of the local community having run the local primary football team for 17 years, as well as an under-17s football team for the boys of all the surrounding villages.
His numerous achievements over the years include his participation in the restoration of the Victory Hall as a trustee and his 25 years of service to the Aboyne Highland Games as a “trophy man” – a job he says may be little, but vital.
One of the highlights of his life – after his marriage to Aileen Paterson in 1969 and the birth of his two children and three grandchildren – has been shaking the hand of Prince Charles at the opening of the revamped Victory Hall in October 1999.
“He was interesting and the nicest man you can ever meet and we just spoke casually like two normal people,” Mr Paterson said.
“This was definitely a highlight in my life that I still hold dear to my heart – that in itself was good enough honour for me.
“It’s absolutely fabulous to receive such recognition – I never thought I’d get anything like this.
“I thought they were winding me up when they first told me.
“I’ve done so many things over the years, but I’m shocked that somebody actually knows about them.
“But even with this medal, still one of the proudest things that I’ve done is playing Santa for the kids of Aboyne for 40 years.
“And I never charged anything – my prize was seeing the kids’ faces and maybe get a box of chocolate every now and again.
Mr Paterson added that one of his greatest achievements was being chosen for Education Supporter of the Year in 2010 after many years of hard work in the Academy.
And even with a golden medal on his chest, he said – through a gentle giggle – that he is “just a normal person”, who loves helping his community.
He said: “The most important thing for me and my favourite thing is that I have helped the community over the years.
“Since I retired 10 years ago, every morning in winter I wake up and clear the paths and sand them for everybody in our area.
“And it’s a small thing, but matters to all of us.
“It’s amazing to get such recognition, but at the end of the day, I’m just a normal guy – nothing more than probably the next lad down the road.”