One of the RNLI South Queensferry’s most loyal volunteers is setting sail into the sunset with a course firmly set on retirement.
More than 30 years ago Rose Ritchie, now 84, left the shores of Fife and anchored in South Queensferry due to her job with Hewlett Packard.
Rose’s neighbour was the one who introduced her to the lifeboat station and in the mid-1980s Rose began helping out at the shop over the weekend.
She said: “It was nothing like it is today. All we had was a counter in the lifeboat shed.”
Rose and the rest of the volunteers would brave all types of weather while operating the souvenir store until the custom-built heated shop opened in 2012.
Rose adored volunteering with the RNLI so much that when she retired from her job with HP at the age of 65 she ran the shop full time.
She said: “It was just brilliant. All the people were so friendly and the customers were always more than happy to chat away to me.
“Put it this way, if I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t have done it for so long. I definitely got more out of it than I put in, and I put in a lot.”
Rose’s hard work was rewarded when she was awarded a British Empire Medal in 2013. She said: “It was amazing to be given such an honour.”
However as Rose said, she is now 84 years old and has decided it is time to “slow down a wee bit”, and so she waved bon voyage to her volunteering days with a small party in Dundas Castle.
Queensferry Lifeboat’s honorary president, Sir Jack Stewart-Clark, offered his home for the night and attended the event to present Rose with her retiral certificate. It was a night Rose described as “exceptional”.
Rose now looks forward to her well-earned relaxation and rest. She never married and described herself as an “unclaimed treasure”. However, South Queensferry RNLI will always treasure her and the work she did.