NANCY Burgoyne, manager of the Rosebery Centre for people with dementia, in Livingston, was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Born in Armadale, Nancy went to Armadale Primary School, Lindsay High School and Bathgate Academy, then took a course at what is now West Lothian College to learn business and office skills.
She worked first for Armadale Town Council and then West Lothian District Council for around eight years before getting married.
She and husband John set up home in Livingston and had two children. It was in 1985, as the family were growing up, that Nancy first became involved with the Rosebery Centre, a new project being set up by her friend, Helen Mein.
She started as a volunteer, but after six months the centre secured funding from central government and Nancy was appointed manager. Since then, the centre and its activities have grown and grown.
Its first home was in the Craigs Farm community building in Craigshill. “We started in a toilet,” recalls Nancy. “The day centre was in the community building, but the office was in this refurbished toilet. We were there for nine years.”
Now based at St Paul’s in Ladywell, part of Livingston United Church, the centre offers day care for people with dementia, as well as support, counselling and services for families. It has a catchment area which includes not only Livingston, but Uphall, Broxburn, Pumpherston, the Calders, Polbeth, Kirknewton and Bellsquarry. There is a team of 30 volunteers who each give 600 hours a year to help in the centre, which offers 45 day care places a week – 15 each day it’s operating.
The centre’s staff are hoping to move to a new building next year and expand the number of places it can offer. But in order to supplement the day care provision, it takes its services out into the community and people’s own homes.
Nancy has been manager for 28 years and is delighted that the centre has now become something of a family business. “My husband, John, took early retirement two years ago and now he works almost full-time for the centre without getting paid.
“My daughters, Lorna and Ailsa, and their two husbands are all involved in helping. And now my granddaughter, Abbie, six, comes in. She just lights up the lives of some of those who can no longer do very much. She brings some of her school things in to show them.”
Nancy, 64, who is due to retire next year, is also involved in Livingston United Church and sings in the Bathgate Menzies Choir.
She says her BEM is a climax for her time at the centre. “The Rosebery is a wonderful group,” she says and insists the medal is “for everyone who has passed through our doors”.
Staff and volunteers at the centre have been invited to the Palace of Holyroodhouse for the garden party next Tuesday.