Real Lives: Churches honour Liz for exceptional charity work

A local volunteer and charity worker from North Berwick has been presented with a Community Award by the North Berwick Association of Churches.

Liz MacColl, a retired home economics teacher, is being recognised for her “exceptional work” and contribution to charities in the community.

More than 40 years ago, and soon after her teenage son recovered from leukaemia, Mrs MacColl began her charitable work, making and selling marmalade at the North Berwick Highland Games, which has helped to raise funds for Cancer Research and St Columba’s Hospice.

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Now, four decades later, Mrs MacColl is still putting others first, and spends much of her time trying to help and share what she has with others.

In 2000 she began organising Glen Bridge Club and along with other members has raised more than £10,000 for local charities such as Edington Hospital, North Berwick Centre for Older People, and North Berwick in Bloom.

As well as this, and working in the local Cancer Research shop for ten years, Mrs MacColl holds monthly antique and bric-a-brac sales at St Andrew Blackadder church, where stallholder fees have raised more than £4000 for Christian Aid.

It’s down to this work that the association has chosen her as this year’s community award winner.

A spokesman for the association said: “Her talent seems to be that she perceives a need and responds to it. Sometimes that has been when a very sick child has needed financial support or when a terminally ill friend was visited regularly with delicious nutritious meals to tempt her to eat.”

Despite devoting so many years to helping charitable causes, Mrs MacColl was surprised, and slightly abashed, at being presented with the award.

“I was quite embarrassed to find out about it,” she said. “I don’t think the things I do merit an award, it was unexpected.”

While she may be modest, it is not only those living in her community who are feeling the benefit of Mrs MacColl’s work. As a supporter of Oxfam, she was involved in setting up donations to one of the charity’s “unwrapped gifts”, which will see the building and equipping of a classroom in Africa.

The donations, which were made in memory of a former friend and colleague, will also help fund the training of teachers for the class.

Closer to home, Mrs MacColl continues to supply her local Oxfam store with recycled golf balls – many of which are now left on her doorstep by those supporting her work, which has raised more than £17,000 for the charity.

Proud of the work she does, Mrs MacColl said: “I couldn’t do it without the help of family and friends. It’s a team effort really.”