EARLIER this year, David Kiltie was stunned to discover he
had been awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to
the community of Maybole.
However, the dad-of-six was left with the hard decision of
which two guests to take with him and wife Margaret to Buckingham Palace
to witness his investiture. After a lot of thought, David decided he would
like to have all of his family around him on the day, including his nine
So, surrounded by his nearest and dearest, the Lord
Lieutenant of Ayrshire and Arran, Major Richard Henderson, invested on
behalf of her Majesty the Queen, David Kiltie as a Member of the Order of
the British Empire on December 19th.
Major Henderson spoke of David's achievements and the rare
honour that was being bestowed upon him, and joked as he read the citation
from HM The Queen that he had never read a longer one. He added that he
could think of no-one more deserving than David, who is an "excellent
example to others of active citizenship".
David (60) said this week: "Receiving the MBE from the Lord
Lieutenant was always an option. I was scheduled to go to Buckingham
Palace on December 14th with three guests. As I've got six daughters and
nine grandchildren, I wouldn't have been able to choose between them, so
it's nice that the whole family could be there at the Town Hall, the place
where I carry out most of my community work, and where I met my wife."
David was delighted that permission was granted for him to
receive his award in the Town Hall. He said: "Because I was receiving the
MBE for services to the community of Maybole, the Town Hall was the only
place that made sense to me.
"It's the place where I've carried out most of my community
work from the days of Maybole Town Council. It's where I met my wife. Our
wedding reception was held there in 1966 and our married daughters wedding
receptions were also in the Town Hall. So there are both family and
community reasons why I'm delighted it was held there."
In fact, it's his family that David credits most for his
MBE, and says that without the sacrifices they made, his community work
would have been impossible.
"It's thanks to Margaret I've been awarded the MBE as she
was the one who made all the sacrifices, and to an extent so did the
girls. In a way the family do lose out.
"I have a very understanding wife, and it's been a
partnership in many ways because of her continual support." With six
daughters and nine grandchildren, David describes himself as "a family
He said: "The girls tried to encourage Margaret and I to go
to Buckingham Palace to collect the MBE and make it our big day, but I'd
rather have had my whole family around me, and I was relieved that
Buckingham Palace agreed that the community council could host the
ceremony in the Town Hall.
"I thought is was a marvellous event. I could not have
asked for anything better. To be awarded with the MBE is a tremendous
honour and to be presented with it in Maybole Town Hall was the icing on
"I would like to thank the Lord Lieutenant, Alex Kelly,
Alan Murray and everyone involved in making the day such a great success."
Margaret added: "It was a wonderful day and all the family thoroughly
David Kiltie was born and bred in Maybole. A pupil at Cairn
Primary from 1950-57 and then on to Carrick Academy, it was during his
schooldays that his lifelong passion for community work, and for the
people in the community, began. He recalls: "In 1961 my dad broke his back
down the pit for the second time, so we had no money. A school exchange
trip to France had been arranged but we couldn't afford for me to go."
However, David hadn't counted on the support he would get
from those around him. Head Teacher Leonard White was determined he would
go on the trip, and when the neighbours heard, they contributed a pound
here and there to ensure young David would be going to France. He says:
"Margaret's mum even gave me a pound. That's the kind of town Maybole is.
People pitch in and help where help is needed. They rallied round for me
and I've never forgotten that."
Carrick Academy school captain from 1962-63, David recalls
Mr White trying to encourage service to the school and the community. "I
attribute a lot to that time in my life," he said.
On leaving school David trained as a chartered accountant,
and worked in computers for publisher Collins in Glasgow before taking a
job with Ayr County Council in 1970. David always had an interest in
politics and worked in local government for a couple of years, but it was
being elected to Maybole Town Council in May 1969 that propelled him into
working with so many other groups over the coming years.
Topping the poll in the local elections in May 1969, David
was elected to the Town Council on his 24th birthday. He recalls fondly:
"Elections were a lot livelier in those days, and after hearing I had been
elected to the Town Council, I came out onto the balcony to be greeted by
the crowd, who started singing happy birthday to me!"
David's role at that time was Chair of the Attraction
Committee, which was run by the Council and involved organising dances,
concerts and gala days.
David says: "You rapidly get into the service part of
running these things." When local government reorganised in 1975, David
made the decision not to stand for the new Council, choosing to help
create Maybole Community Association instead. He explains: "People in the
town had been used to taking any complaints they had to one of the 12
councillors when the Town Council was still in existence, but after the
reorganisation, there was only one councillor. We got some funding and the
Community Association was formed to act as a bridge for people, and we
passed on their complaints."
David was the first Chairman of Maybole community council
when the organisation was formed in 1977, a role which he still finds
himself in today. For a while, he found himself chair of both the
community council and association. He says: "Both organisations do a power
of work, and a lot of people have put in a lot of work over the years. I
take a back seat in the association now, although I'm still involved."
David took early retirement in 1996, but that still didn't
guarantee that he had any spare time in his life. "I usually found that
when I gave up one thing, I'd take up another," he said.
It would take up too many column inches to even give a
brief description of the many groups David's been involved with over the
years, so we'll keep it brief: Founding secretary of Maybole Community
Association in 1975; founding chairman of Maybole Community Council in
1977; first chairman of Maybole Town Twinning Association in 1982 of which
David says: "This year will be the 25th anniversary of the first visit to
Crosne. Me, Alan Murray, Jim Sym, Don Rabie went over. Since then we have
twinned with two other towns and have reached special friendship
agreements with other parts of Europe." David is also Chair of the May-Tag
job training agency set up in 1988 by the community council.
Peter Walker of May-Tag commented: "I first met David
Kiltie in 1999, and from the first, I was immediately impressed by his
tireless involvement in the promotion of the town of Maybole. He has been
instrumental in setting up committees and groups, in order that all
aspects of the town's needs are represented, and participation by the
local people encouraged. A modest man by nature, he has always shown a
kindly manner and good sense of humour despite sometimes fraught pressures
of his various undertakings, on behalf of the people of Maybole."
The man described by Alex Kelly as 'Mr Maybole' is also
involved with Maybole Community Development Group; Maybole Resource
Centre; Maybole Charity Shop; Jean Falconer Literary Competition; Maybole
Sick Nursing Association; Carrick Housing Association; Carrick Community
Transport Group; Carrick 800; Scouts; on the committee of Maybole
Historical Society and is chairman of the pastoral council of Our Lady and
St Cuthbert’s Church; Maybole’s longest-serving Justice of the Peace, and
is on the Lord Lieutenant's committee which appoints new JPs; Maybole news
correspondent for local papers for 25 years.
He said: "I was annoyed that the papers wouldn't cover the
many good things that were happening in the town, so I started writing it
David was also instrumental in helping to set up the
award-winning Maybole website in 1999. "The Maybole website absolutely
snowballed and folk rave about it now," he said. Alex Kelly also said that
David's endeavours had done more than anything else to "keep the spirit of
the town alive". Local councillor and friend of David for over 30 years,
Alan Murray, added: "This MBE is richly deserved for voluntary work over
Finally, regarding the reason he finds himself receiving
all this attention, he says: "The family have been really overwhelmed by
the cards and e-mails we received on news of my MBE. For Margaret, the
girls and the folk in Maybole, I'm happy to receive the award. It's an
"It came totally out the blue. I see it as recognition for
the town. It really has been built on other folk and I feel it's a bit
unfair." David went on: "There are around 80 groups in Maybole and a lot
of people would be surprised at the amount of volunteer effort that is put
in by others, who should also be recognised and appreciated. When
volunteers give up their time it is their families who make sacrifices as
well. Lot's of folk gave up time for this to be possible for me.
"For instance, the community council is only as good as the
people who put themselves forward, and we've been very lucky over the
"I get quite emotional about this town. Maybole folk are
always there for you if you need them, and they show respect. Community
spirit must go on in other small towns and villages, but this is the only
place I've ever known. "I've always felt quite lucky and blessed in a way
because the folk in Maybole have helped me at times in the past, and
pointed me in the right direction."
As well as his wife, daughters and grandchildren, David
also has a sister Eileen, and his dad passed away in September 2004. The
other important person in David's life who wasn't able to see him receive
the MBE is his mum, Betty, who sadly died only a couple of months before
he found out about his award.
"It almost seems like fate, but my mum was one of the few
people who knew when the Queen's real birthday was, and when she died
earlier this year, she was buried on that date. I know she would have been
so proud to see me receive the MBE."