SELKIRK Merchant Company has chosen Joyce Wright as its 2012 'Personality of the Year'.

She received the James Oliver Memorial Award at the company's winter function, held in Selkirk Rugby Club's Philiphaugh Suite on Friday night.

The accolade recognises the exceptional contribution Joyce has made to the Selkirk community over the years in a variety of ways, including youth hockey coaching, fund-raising for charity, committee work and helping to safeguard the town's Common Riding traditions.

The presentation of the shield was made by the Merchant Company's Master, Neville Dundas, who praised the "energy, drive and commitment" of Mrs Wright. She also received a commemorative framed certificate from Selkirk Merchant Company's 2012 Standard Bearer, Mark Nichol.

Having played hockey for the Selkirk ladies team, as well as representing the South at under-21 and senior level, Joyce encouraged local youngsters to take up the sport by arranging mini-hockey coaching sessions for them on Saturday mornings.

Following the death of her father George from cancer in 1987, Mrs Wright organised a fund-raising walk in his memory from St Mary's Loch back to Selkirk, via the Three Brethren. From just 12 participants in that first year, the walk has rapidly grown in popularity, with over 70 walkers now regularly taking part in the annual event.

Over the past 24 years the walk has raised in excess of �120,000 for Cancer Research - an incredible achievement.

A born and bred Souter, Mrs Wright is a keen Common Riding supporter. After noticing that fewer young people were singing the traditional Common Riding songs - a key element of the local celebrations - she took it upon herself to remedy the situation by forming a children's 'Common Riding Singing Club'.

Catering for local primary schoolchildren, the youngsters are encouraged to learn and enjoy the various Common Riding songs. This not only allows them to participate fully in the various ceremonies and celebrations, but ensures they take this musical knowledge into adulthood, so helping keep alive the town's musical heritage.

As well as being a long-serving member of Selkirk's Cancer Research committee, Mrs Wright has been treasurer of Selkirk Cricket Club for the past three years.

Joyce and her husband Kenny, who was at Friday night's function, have two daughters, Jenny (13) and Caitlin (12).

After the ceremony Mrs Wright, an executive assistant with Waverley Housing in Hawick, said she was "delighted and honoured" to receive the award. "It's the people who raise the money, coming back year after year to take part in the walk, who do all the hard work. This award recognises their efforts."

Previous winners of the James Oliver Memorial Award are Ella Phaup, Stewart Roberts, Rev. Bill Laing, Jim Newlands, John Smail, Fiona Scott, Billy Stark, Jim Marshall, Jake Wheelans, Graham Coulson and Colin Kemp.