The Queen presents a gong to the Erskine Veterans Charity Ambassador

A former TV journalist turned Erskine ambassador was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Honours.

Mike Edwards, who himself served as an Army Reserve infantry officer for nearly 30 years, received Her Majesty’s Birthday Honor as part of celebrations marking his 70 years on the throne.

But the 57-year-old, who has toured Iraq and Afghanistan during his career as a technical assistant, told how he didn’t believe he had received the honor at first and thought a friend was making a prank when he got the call.

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He said: “One afternoon I was walking around on vacation when I noticed a voicemail, but I didn’t recognize the number, name or voice. The caller asked me to check my email urgently and respond within the hour. I thought it was either a friend of mine that bugged me or a phishing scam.

“I had run out of data, so I couldn’t check my emails. When I finally got a connection, about 100 emails fell into my inbox. Downstairs was one from Cabinet Office emailed the previous week telling me I was going to got the OBE.

Mike has toured Iraq and Afghanistan

“I called the number given in the email and spoke to the official who left the voicemail and he told me that if I had called an hour later I would have been removed from the list. The rest of my vacation was spent in a trance. I’m not sure I needed the plane to get home, I think I came back on my own.

The Armed Forces remained close to the heart of Mike, who became a household name as one of the nightly faces of STV News, broadcast to homes across the west of Scotland for over 25 years.

But the journalist, who became a full-time carer for his mother Margaret, who was suffering from dementia when he left the TV screens, has received recognition for his public and charitable service in Scotland.

Since the death of his mother in 2019, Mike has dedicated himself to charity work.
He now sits as an ambassador and trustee for Erskine, as well as for the Royal Highland Fusiliers Trust.

Busy Mike is also involved in the Highlanders Regimental Museum at Fort George, the Loch Lomond Lifeboat and the Glasgow Humane Society, as well as being a social worker for SSAFA, the armed forces charity.

In 2020, the Helensburgh resident was made a second lieutenant in Dunbartonshire.

Mike said: “I’m deeply touched and totally shocked and surprised to receive this award. I can’t believe I received this honor. It’s all the more special as it’s the platinum jubilee of the queen.

Among the charities, Mike – originally from Inverness – has also found time to become an author.

He has published a number of books including Friendly Fire and The Road Home. He plans to continue his writing career with a series of new novels.

Wing Commander Ian Cumming MBE, Managing Director of Erskine, said of his honour: “We were delighted to hear of Mike’s well-deserved award and delighted that he continues to support us as director and ambassador of Erskine.

Ian Cumming, CEO of Erskine
Ian Cumming, CEO of Erskine

“He has given an enormous amount of time, effort and consideration to our cause, as we adapt to change and expand our services to veterans across Scotland.

“We thank him for his efforts and look forward to congratulating him together.”

The chief executive of a national charity which carries out work in Renfrewshire also received a Platinum Jubilee honour.

SallyAnn Kelly of Aberlour

SallyAnn Kelly, who ran the Aberlour Childcare Trust, received an OBE for her services to children and families.

She became Chief Executive of Aberlour in 2014 and is recognized for her significant contribution to the well-being and happiness of thousands of children and families in Scotland.

The charity, which has a shop in Paisley, runs a mentorship program to support vulnerable young people in the area.

SallyAnn said: ‘I am delighted and grateful to be recognized with an OBE in honor of the Queen’s birthday. I want to thank my peers who believed that I deserved to be nominated.

“It was a real surprise to receive the letter and I accept the honor with gratitude and humility. It is a privilege to do what I do. Running Aberlour Child Care Trust is an absolute honor – it is a charity truly exceptional with many talented, committed and dedicated people working to improve the lives of children and families across Scotland.

David Robb, Chairman of the Board of Aberlour, added, “On behalf of everyone at Aberlour, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to SallyAnn on her very well-deserved award.

“His drive to improve the lives of children and families, and his leadership through the extremely difficult covid pandemic, is an inspiration and a source of pride for all of us in the Aberlour community. It is fitting that this has been recognized by her peers who nominated her for this prestigious honour.

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