Published 06 July 2022

A group of West Dunbartonshire residents had tea with the Prince of Wales last week at the annual Royal Garden Party.

The attendees were nominated to attend the prestigious event at the Palace of Holyrood House as a thank you for making a difference in their community.

They included Hugh Currie from Dumbarton, who was named Citizen of the Year in 2019 for his volunteering over the past 40 years, raising thousands for charities and community groups as well as lending a hand to the community members who need it most.

Through his race nights, bingo and other charity events, Hugh went above and beyond to ensure he gave his all for local schools, children’s charities, community groups and football teams.

Elizabeth Daly represented the Friends of Dumbarton Foreshore group named Community/Voluntary Team Champion for their work to clear litter and debris from the shore of Levengrove Park to ensure the area remains a place of natural beauty.

Elite bowler Emma McIntyre, named Sports Champion for 2019, also joined the attendees along with West Dunbartonshire Council employee Elaine Boyle, who was nominated by her line manager in recognition of her service.

The group was welcomed to Clydebank Town Hall by Depute Provost John Millar on Wednesday before they travelled through to Edinburgh for the celebration.

Depute Provost Millar said: “It was great to see such deserving residents so excited to be part of the Garden Party.

“This is a great way for us to let them know how greatly we appreciate their hard work and how much their dedication means to the communities around West Dunbartonshire.

“These are the people who make our area what it is and I was delighted to have the opportunity to say thank you to them in person.”

Although having travelled north with the rest of the Royal party, the Queen was unable to attend. However, in her absence Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Edward were introduced to a number of guests during the annual event, held in the grounds of the Palace of Holyrood House.

Hugh’s son, Paul, said: “It was a lovely day in a glorious setting looking across to Arthur’s Seat.

“I know it was a proud moment for my dad – not bad for a boy from Brucehill to be standing there amongst royalty, but he more than deserved his moment. He’s a humble, unassuming person so he repeatedly said thanks for this, but I said to him ‘this day is about thanking you for everything you’ve done.’

“For as long as I can remember he was constantly busy doing things to help others in the community so for that lifelong commitment to be recognised really means a lot.

“We were well looked after and it was nice to meet so many deserving people who had also been invited along in recognition of their achievements and services to their community.

“I’m so grateful that we were invited and able to share such a special day together.”

Hugh, 81, was so devoted to helping others that he would even pick up and drop off members of the community who would otherwise have struggled to attend the events he organised, driven by a determination that people shouldn’t have to miss out on the fun.

Unfortunately, he was forced to give up his volunteer work due to deteriorating health but locals who felt the loss of his presence nominated him for a Provost’s Civic Award, calling him ‘one in a million’.