Hawick Salvation Army leader recognised in Queen’s honours
published on 10 Oct 2020
Salvation Army Captain Caroline Brophy-Parkin has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her work supporting vulnerable people in Hawick during the coronavirus pandemic.
As well as running the community food bank and delivering food parcels, Caroline organised the Hawick community to ensure the various local agencies, charities and volunteers worked together to reach everyone who needed help.
Caroline said: “The Salvation Army were able to be there for people in lots of other ways, such as purchasing a fridge freezer for a family who needed one and supporting people who were finding the isolation difficult to cope with.
“We continued to run the community food bank and it got to the point we were doing more food parcels in a day than we would normally do in a week.
“Hawick is a small, community-minded town and we saw that manifest itself during the pandemic. People got assistance who needed it. We all worked together to share the load and there were so many individuals, groups and businesses who were amazing and made such a difference.”
The mother of six said phone conversations with her son Richard who lives in Spain meant she was able to put plans in place before the UK went into lockdown in early March.
Caroline said: “My son is in Alicante and was in lockdown about a fortnight before the UK so I had an insight into what we were about to experience.
“I spoke to the Provost of Hawick and he agreed we had to work together to protect the vulnerable members of our community. I was concerned we were going to have people doing lots of the same things so the Provost asked me to facilitate bringing together the various groups and individuals who wanted to be involved.
“Together with the council and other local groups we were able to pull people together. Even now the groups meet regularly on video calls to discuss the community response.
“With my son having to be on his own in Spain I knew isolation would be a major issue here in Hawick because we have a lot of older people who live alone. So we quickly organised a telephone befriending service, which was manned by Hawick Resilience Group. This proved to be a lifeline for many.
“It’s an honour to be nominated for the MBE but this is not just for me – it’s for everyone at The Salvation Army and others who helped out during the lockdown. There are an awful lot of people behind me.”
Caroline though did not escape the pandemic unscathed, sadly losing her brother-in-law to the virus. She’d also needed to take a fortnight off her community work to care for her mother who had contracted it, while her daughter who lives in Wales was also unwell with suspected Covid-19.
Caroline said: “It’s been a difficult time for our family and so many others around the world. I’ve had a taste of what people are going through and so to be able to help people in the Hawick community has been an honour for me.”
Lieutenant Colonel Carol Bailey, who has responsibility for all Salvation Army work in the East of Scotland, said: “The Salvation Army is committed to serving people in need wherever they may be. It has been a privilege for the local Salvation Army church to be involved in the combined community effort to support the people of Hawick throughout the lockdown period.
“Captain Caroline has given excellent service in Hawick over this challenging time and we are delighted that her ministry has been recognised in this way, as a representative of The Salvation Army and everyone in the local community who worked alongside her.”