Pathhead woman receives honour fit for a Queen

Jackie McNairn, a learning assistant and youth worker with Pathead Youth Project members who are P6 and P7 pupils at Tynewater Primary.
Jackie McNairn, a learning assistant and youth worker with Pathead Youth Project members who are P6 and P7 pupils at Tynewater Primary.

A Pathhead woman has spoken of her pride and shock at receiving a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours last weekend.

Jackie McNairn (55) has lived most of her life in the Pathhead area, where she runs Pathhead Youth Project (PYP), is on the committee of Pathhead Village Hall and is also a learning assistant at Tynewater Primary School.

Jackie was delighted to receive the honour for services to young people and the community. She said: “I’m quite overwhelmed, people think I deserved it, but I’m just doing my job. Walking to school today I got stopped so many times by people saying ‘well done’ and ‘you deserve it’, which was really nice.

“I knew about a month ago when I got the letter form the Queen’s office, it was really hard to keep it a secret.

“I was nominated by the PYP committee, it’s a wonderful thing to know that I’m appreciated, I do this job because it’s what I want to do. It’s amazing that people have taken the time to nominate me.”

Jackie helped set-up Pathhead Youth Project in 2004 and has run it since 2015, keeping kids off the street.

She said: “I just love working with kids. It’s a busy life but I like being busy, my parents always brought me up to do a job well, as it’s not worth doing unless you are doing it well.

“The youth project was originally set-up to build bridges between the generations. It’s totally worked, the community police used to be here quite a lot, we hardly see them now. However, that makes it harder to get funding, we are a victim of our own success.

“There was nothing for the kids to do then. So now on a Monday and Thursday we have a drop-in at the community hall for them to hang out, play pool, football and other games. But those who want to do more do the youth awards and over the years they have achieved a lot. Last year they wrote a play and put it on, and they have had a fashion show.

“It’s great, and we have seen kids come back to us to volunteer with us.

“It’s a vital asset and service for the kids, and for their parents as they know their children are safe here.”

Jackie was previously a Girl Guides helper and a Midlothian Council youth worker.

Pathhead & District Community Association’s acting chairman Neil Dumbleton said: “Jackie has done an amazing job in the village over many years and we are delighted to see her recognised for this.”