AT its winter function on Friday night, Selkirk Merchant Company presented the James Oliver Memorial Award to Caroline Penman.

Donated by Mrs Isobel Oliver in memory of her late husband, the award is presented annually to the person chosen by the Merchant Company for their contribution to the town of Selkirk and its surrounding areas.

Since its inception in 2002, a total of 15 people have been recognised by the Company as having served the community in a wide range of activities and, although the award is presented by the Merchant Company, it is acknowledged in Selkirk that the recipient is being recognised for their services to the entire town and community.

Caroline said: "A community is only as good as those who become involved in it, and there are so many passionate individuals who put their heart and soul into making this wee toon great that I am blown away by their generosity and support.”

Presenting the award on Friday night Merchant Company Master David Heard listed the many achievements and projects which Caroline has been involved with.

Educated at Knowepark Primary and Selkirk High School she was a member of the Brownies, the Guides and the Venture Scouts as well as being an active member of Selkirk swimming club.

After leaving school she played rugby and was a member of Selkirk Ladies team in 1999 when they won the Selkirk Sevens. That same year she ran the Edinburgh marathon in aid of Scottish Hart. She qualified as an accountant and worked for various accountancy firms in Edinburgh and the Borders.

Her involvement in local groups and organisations, as volunteer, committee member, chair and coordinator is many and varied; she has been treasurer of Selkirk Rhinos and Selkirk Art Club and has done the accounts for the Argus Playgroup and the Hammermen on a voluntary basis for a number of years. She has volunteered at The Haining where she helped organise the Teddy Bears Picnic and the Easter Egg Hunt and she is a member of the Common Riding children’s picnic committee helping to organise the races and the kid’s teas.

Caroline is presently the lead coordinator of the Selkirk Illuminations and Christmas Parade committee, last year raising £6,000 towards the replacement Christmas lights.

She also chairs the Streetscape Project which brought together individuals and groups representing many different interests to plan the regeneration of the Market Place which is currently underway. And if all of that wasn’t enough Caroline chairs the Selkirk Chamber of Trade, committed to stimulating growth in the town. She is organiser of the Welcome to Selkirk town guide, launched this summer, and is busy on next year’s guide which should be published in April 2018. She was active in starting up the Borders Business Women’s Club which aims to support and inspire women in the Scottish Borders to develop their businesses.

Caroline is involved in a pilot scheme for developing the young workforce in Selkirk and will be mentoring a 6th year student at the High School. In the last two weeks Caroline has been invited to become an Ambassador for Women in Enterprise Scotland.

And for her day job, with her business partner Leanne Main, she runs the Post office in the Market Place as well as Liberty Star Home and Gift and Liberty Star Design.

Married to Ian, and with two teenage children, Caroline amazingly somehow manages to incorporate domestic life with all of her other activities. Before presenting the award David Heard finished by saying that Caroline’s commitment and willingness to work for the improvement of Selkirk makes her a truly worthy recipient. She was also presented with a certificate by 2017 Merchant Company Standard Bearer, Stuart Hogarth.

After receiving the engraved shield Caroline thanked Selkirk Merchant Company for bestowing the honour of the award on her.

She knew the Oliver family well growing up, so this presentation had a special meaning for her.