Today's story from the Advertiser's archives takes us back 15 years to the presentation of an award to Helensburgh woman Valerie Fisher, who served on the Children's Panel in Dunbartonshire for 25 years.

Valerie Fisher received a long service medal from the then First Minister, Jack McConnell – here's how we reported the news in the Advertiser on March 11, 2004...

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A HELENSBURGH woman has received a long service medal from First Minister Jack McConnell.

Valerie Fisher has served on the Dunbartonshire children’s panel for 25 years, dealing with troubled children in need of care or who have committed an offence.

She was among 14 volunteers from across Scotland to be presented with awards during a reception at Edinburgh Castle to mark the contribution made by members to the children’s hearing system.

Valerie, who joined the panel in 1979, said: “Through my work with the children’s panel, I feel I’ve made a valuable contribution to my local community and society in general. Although being a panel member is a big commitment, I get a great sense of fulfilment in being able to talk to children and their families to help them work through their problems.”

“The children’s hearings system relies on people volunteering their time to help, and I would urge anyone who has a local understanding and wants to contribute to their local community to find out more.

“I feel I have certainly benefited from my long involvement.”

Mr McConnell said: “Scotland’s Children’s Hearing system is internationally acclaimed and the volunteers who make up our local panels make a massive contribution to helping vulnerable youngsters.

“I am proud to pay tribute to those long-serving volunteers who have given so much of their time, experience and enthusiasm.“Too often their efforts go unrecognised.”