Jan 4 2012 by Donald Morton, Stirling Observer Wednesday
LONG-SERVING champion of the blind and partially-sighted in the Stirling area Ella Kennedy has been honoured by the Queen.
And it’s a celebration which we at the Stirling Observer are equally proud of.
Ella was awarded the MBE in the New Year’s Honours List for her sterling work with Rocktalk which has been providing news and features for blind and partially-sighted people in the Stirling area since 1982.
It brings together edited highlights of the Stirling Observer to listeners in the Stirling area free of charge, keeping them in touch with local events.
A monthly audio magazine is also published with items of local and general interest for the blind and visually impaired.
Every week they have an 80-minute CD or cassette delivered to their homes which enables them to keep up with the news, thanks to the city’s favourite newspaper.
This year Rocktalk celebrates its 30th birthday and in the early days, Observer staff used to record stories from the paper.
Ella joined in January 1987 and in the past 25 years has read stories as well as acting in an administrative capacity.
Now chairman, she said she was “honoured and very flattered to have been nominated for the award by her colleagues at Rocktalk.”
It was one of her colleagues who actually broke the news to her on Saturday morning.
“Ida Wilson, one of our volunteers, phoned me to say she had a sore knee and didn’t think she would be able to curtsey in front of me,” said Ella.
“I didn’t know what she was talking about but when she told me I was almost speechless.”
She added: “I had a letter back in November asking if I would accept the award but I didn’t know it would be as quick – I didn’t even mention it to my family.”
Her family of three daughters and one son were “all delighted” for her and the MBE winner was full of praise for the Rocktalk volunteers.
“They are a fantastic calibre of people,” she said. “Some of them have been with us for many years – these days I just keep the wheels turning.”
Rocktalk vice chairman Mike Milne said: “Ella is a very dedicated chairman and very keen to make sure we make certain to maintain standards for our customers.
“She has been diligent in keeping Rocktalk running and her award is long overdue.”
Also on the list was Callander man Robert Black, who was awarded a CBE.
He recently announced his retirement as Auditor General for Scotland and served as chief executive for Stirling District Council from 1985-90.