Joyce is tireless in her Selkirk community work

Selkirk’s Joyce Wright is well known for her fundraising and volunteer work.

Her generosity of spirit was recognised with a British Empire Medal

How did you first get involved with Cancer Research?

After my dad died from cancer I wanted to do something, so I organised a sponsored walk and it took off from there. The walk itself has raised around £120,000 since it began in 1989, although I’ve still to add this year’s money to that total. We have a good core of loyal walkers who do it year in year out. But I’m very much part of a team as there are a lot of people on that committee who do a lot of fundraising. The committee is actually celebrating its 50th anniversary next year.

Are you involved in other charity work?

Because I fundraise for Cancer Research I don’t like to ask people to help out with other charities – there’s so much being asked of folk these days – but a couple of weeks ago I organised a pop-up shop in the town for Nepal. It was just a reaction to hearing about the crisis abroad – the situation is so dire over there that I thought I’d put a quick notice up on Facebook and ask people to donate items, and if we made £100, we made £100. But the event was really well supported. We could have had a week-long shop with the amount of stuff Selkirk folk donated. We had home baking, donations of clothing and bric-a-brac, we had raffles… you name it, we had it. On the day we made £835.

What made you set up Selkirk Kids’ Common Riding Singalong?

I’m from Selkirk and have grown up with the common riding and enjoy the community spirit of the festival, so I felt it was important that the children learn about the town’s traditions. It was really to keep the common riding songs alive and to make sure the youngsters picked up the words and tunes at as early an age as possible. A lot of the teachers at the schools are not from the town anymore, which is where we all used to learn the songs. The club is held every Monday evening for a few weeks in the run-up to the common riding and we usually get around 40 children coming along with their parents and grandparents, so they fi ll the hall. The folk that come along are a mixture of families who are common riding enthusiasts who want their children to learn the traditions, and families who have moved to town and want to become involved. It’s a real mix.

How did you become a hockey coach?

I played hockey for a long time and I wanted to give something back to the sport. Both my daughters are now playing at quite a high level, so it’s very rewarding being involved. I’m one of a number of coaches who help with the mini hockey for primary school children. We have around 50 children coming every week.

What have you enjoyed most about your voluntary work?

It’s a good feeling to at least try and make a difference where you can. I guess I just keep falling into things, but I really enjoy what I’m involved in – although I don’t think I’m a local hero! There are loads of folk in Selkirk who do just as much as me, if not more.

How did you feel when you heard you’re to be awarded with a British Empire Medal (BEM)?

It’s hard to put into words because I don’t do what I do for recognition, in fact I feel a wee bit embarrassed about it because there are a lot of people doing wonderful stuff in Selkirk and in the Borders. But I was very flattered that someone had thought enough of me to nominate me, although I’ve no idea who it was! I’ve had some really lovely messages since it was made public, though, and the family are really pleased for me.

(This feature was originally published in 2015)