Award from the Queen for Orkney's '˜unique' Blue Door shop

THE Blue Door in Orkney has been announced as the first ever recipient in the islands of an incredibly special award from the Queen.
Rita Jamieson. Picture: ContributedRita Jamieson. Picture: Contributed
Rita Jamieson. Picture: Contributed

The volunteer-run charity shop in Kirkwall’s Victoria Street has been won the Queens Award for ­Voluntary ­Service – the MBE for ­volunteer groups.

The shop was the vision of 94-year-old Rita Jamieson, who founded the Blue Door in 2003. She said: “This is wonderful news. Who would have thought that our little shop in ­Orkney would be so highly thought of by the Queen.

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“I am so pleased for all the ­volunteers who have helped set up and run the shop over the years. They have been a great support to ­hundreds of local groups, and helped many ­thousands of customers. I hope that they are proud of their award.”

Eileen Spence, a regular volunteer in the shop, added: “This is really ­amazing. There is a superb team of volunteers at the Blue Door, but we just quietly go about supporting the different groups and helping our ­customers.

“We all get satisfaction out of helping people in our ­community. None of us look for any special ­recognition, which makes this award even more exciting.”

Eileen added: “I am just so proud of what the Blue Door achieves day-to-day and week-to-week. None of this would be possible without the volunteers.

“The Blue Door, is a unique ­community-focused, volunteer-run charity shop. It hosts a different group within – or linked to – the Orkney community each week, all year round.” When Rita started The Blue Door, she wanted a different ­charity shop that would help everyone in Orkney.

It supports a wide range of groups who help and support individuals in the islands. The shop has recently been used to raise funds for organisations supporting traditional music, ­riding for the disabled, agriculture and church preservation.

Since it opened in 2003, it has raised a staggering total of more than £1.7 million.

A volunteer from the weekly group is present each shift to work with the volunteers, who run the shop every week. In a typical week, a group will raise between £2500 to £4000.

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