john-mackintosh-bem-from LordLieutenant Seymour Munro

John MacKintosh being presented with his British Empire Medal from Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Seymour Monro. Picture: Beth TaylorJohn MacKintosh being presented with his British Empire Medal from Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Seymour Monro.

RECEIVING a British Empire Medal surrounded by friends and family in front of the schools he attended as a youngster is something that John MacKintosh will never forget.

John, Forres born and bred, was given a BEM in the King’s New Year Honours List. He received the award from Moray’s Lord Lieutenant Seymour Monro on Tuesday, April 30, in Grant Park’s sunken gardens.

The award was presented to John for 30 years of dedicated fundraising, which has seen him raise more than £180,000 for charity through car boot sales and working at the Cancer Research UK shop in Elgin.

From left: Lord-Lieutenant of Moray Seymour Monro, Stella Vass, John MacKintosh and Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Moray Joanna Grant Peterkin

“It was terrific,” he said. “There are no words to describe it. You are just beaming. It’s more special having friends and family there.

“It was a very pleasant afternoon and everyone enjoyed it. It was nice to get it in my hometown, too.”

As a youngster, John attended primary school in the building that is now Forres House Community Centre, and attended high school in the Anderson’s Primary School building.

So receiving these awards has almost taken John, who has lived in Elgin for more than 50 years, full circle.

After the presentation, John headed along with friends and family to the Mosset Tavern – where a spread of food was put on for everyone.“I had no idea what we were getting, I just asked for tea and pieces, but I thought the tables were going to collapse.”

Lord Lieutenant Seymour Monro thanked John for his dedicated community efforts – and he has had countless folk congratulate him on his awards.

“Seymour puts you at ease and that’s half the battle,” John added.

“He was really pleased and delighted with all the work I have done for the community. I did it all because I enjoyed it. I wouldn’t have done it otherwise – it’s as simple as that.

“It has been surprising how many folk, even strangers, recognise me from pictures and say congratulations.”

John MacKintosh and partner Stella Vass.

John MacKintosh and partner Stella Vass.

Aside from his charitable work, John spent 28 years working in the whisky industry and was a telegram boy in Forres for 13 years in his younger days.

He is also well-remembered for running the whisky shop at the Tolbooth which raised funds for Forres Heritage Trust.