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Former Dingwall Academy and Ferintosh Primary pupil pays tribute to Black Isle upbringing after been named an MBE in Queen's Birthday Honours

By Rachel Smart

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Dr Kirsty Cole.
Dr Kirsty Cole.

A GP who was brought up and schooled on the Black Isle and in Dingwall managed to surprise her mum with news of the MBE she was awarded in the Queen's Birthday Honours – but not her dad!

Dr Kirsty Cole (40), who now lives in Orkney, was recognised for her stellar work during the pandemic at Skerrymore Medical Practice.

Dr Cole, whose parents still live in Knocknafanaig, Easter Kinkell, found out about the MBE back in April. She said: "I found out in a letter back in April and was in a state of shock.It's a very long time not to talk about it. I drove up last week to tell them but my dad had already read the papers!

“I managed to surprise my mum though.”

The former Ferintosh Primary and Dingwall Academy pupil credits her foundational upbringing to her success.

She said: “Although I have won the MBE in Orkney, the Black Isle is where my roots are. School at Ferintosh and Dingwall Academy set me up well and I have such fond memories of the teachers there.

“Mrs Margaret Bridges and Mrs Anne Grigor from Ferintosh Primary were memorable for me. Mr James (Jimmy) Dunn (geography), Mr Brian Reid (physics) and Miss Sandra Catto (history) were also particularly inspirational to me when I was growing up.”

Of thr accolade, she said: “It’s not something you expect.It feels humbling that someone has noticed the time and hard work that has been put into the practice.It is a special achievement.”

The citation said: “During Covid-19, she came to the fore in her support to the Chair of Silver Command, providing highly credible advice and fearlessly interrogated the science to gain clarity, whilst representing the needs of her primary and secondary care colleagues.

“Her specialist knowledge and ability to draw on the right people at the right time has been central to the preparation, management and on-going response of NHS Orkney to the pandemic.”

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