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New Year Honours: Highland woman awarded BEM for services to cancer care

Davina Gillies
Davina Gillies

A retired cancer nurse from the Highlands has said it was “quite a shock” to discover she had been included on the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Davina Gillies, from North Kessock, continued volunteering with Marie Curie Cancer Care after she retired from nursing in 2003.

She has been awarded a BEM in recognition of her service to the charity and the community in Inverness.

“I got a shock when the envelope came through the post and I wondered what on earth I was getting from the Cabinet Office,” she said.

“I opened it and was just stunned, I couldn’t believe it. I’m too nervous to be excited about it. It’s a great honour for Marie Curie, I think.”

The 78-year-old cared for hundreds of patients living with painful and depilating life limiting conditions during her time as a cancer nurse.

She said: “I originally worked in the Black Isle and Dingwall areas and after a few years I joined Inverness as well.

“When I joined Marie Curie there wasn’t a dedicated fundraiser. Eventually we did get one and that’s when I started volunteering. I carried on after I retired, doing the street collections and that sort of thing.”

Providing support for hundreds of people

Davina Gillies has been awarded a BEM in the New Year Honours list. Photo by Sandy McCook/DCT Media.

Mrs Gillies has been described as “integral” in introducing the Marie Curie night support scheme in the Highlands. It is now part of the holistic package of care offered by cancer care teams to those in need.

As well as helping to raise “considerable amounts” for Marie Curie, Mrs Gillies has also dedicated much of her time to volunteering in the Macmillan suite at Raigmore Hosital.

This is something she did for several years on a near full time basis, offering support to patients while they waited to attend appointments.

Mrs Gillies’s voluntary work also extends to her local church where she now works as a youth leader.

She first became involved with the Knockbain Free Church youth group after retiring from Marie Curie.

As youth leader, she has managed and engaged with around 120 young people through a range of activities, including teaching crafts and providing emotional support.

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