Marie Shevas, founder of Scottish agency Moorelands Travel, has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s honours list for her services to charity.
She has raised more than £800,000 for a host of charities at home and overseas.
“I am stunned – I can’t believe it, I am still in shock,” she said.
“I never thought this would happen in my wildest dreams; a little girl from Cowdenbeath.”
She said she began fundraising more than 30 years ago, for charities such as Children in Need and she has supported many other causes such as breast cancer research, guide dogs for the blind and sensory gardens.
“I’m very fortunate in life and I like to give back,” she said.
“I can help if anyone asks for help.”
She raised the money through events such as ladies’ days and sports dinners, and paid tribute to her family, friends and colleagues who supported her efforts.
Hotels and other local companies also helped by donating holidays and city breaks as prizes for her fundraising events.
“It has been such a challenging year, this is a really nice way to end it,” she added.
“We have been fighting through this pandemic and next year looks better – it is more encouraging with news of the vaccinations.
“I am fortunate that we have survived.”
Part of Barrhead Travel, the agency has one shop in Cowdenbeath but had to close another branch in Kinross because of the pandemic.
Her husband caught Covid-19 in March and she lost her father-in-law in August.
“I have been in travel for more than 40 years, and we have always been resilient,” she said.
“This year has been the greatest challenge. We have worked 24/7 to keep on top of cancellations, amendments and changing rules.
“Barrhead Travel and Jacqueline Dobson [Barrhead president] have been very supportive.
“We’re still here fighting and things will turn a corner.
“Clients are more confident and there is more interest in booking.”
She is also looking forward to hearing about the presentation of her award and whether she will be able to visit Buckingham Palace “for the chance of a lifetime” in 2021.
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