Nadia Ahmed (37) has just been awarded the British Empire Medal in the 2022 New Year Honours for her work with Morrisons at the Gyle as Community Champion.

We first met Nadia when she was in charge of the Coats 4 Kids campaign, collecting and cleaning coats for children and young people. She is originally from Dundee but came to Edinburgh in 2000.

Nadia with some of the coats she collected at the Gyle store

Nadia said: “I loved working at Morrisons and being Community Champion. To be given an honour like this is truly amazing.

“It was totally unexpected I honestly did not think that people would get recognised for something like that – just being able to help other people was my aim. Getting this honoured is just the cherry on top.

“At first I thought it was a complete joke, but it is all about the work I have done in the community with things like my campaign Coats 4 Kids.

“It is a sweet way to end something that meant a lot to me and to a lot of people who were facing hard times. It opened my eyes to how much help is really needed. When you are just living your life you are a bit oblivious to what is around you, so it was a humbling experience.

“I am training to become a dental nurse in a local dental practice. I had been doing that before I got the job at Morrisons.

“I found about the honour at the beginning of November. I have been trying not to think about it – I have not even told my mum about it.

“My whole household is isolating at the minute which helps keep it in the family. I am a mum of two teenage boys and they know as well as my husband, Arfaan.

“He opened the letter – on the front of the envelope it had On Her Majesty’s Service Urgent and Personal, Cabinet Office, and I panicked. So, although it was addressed to me he wanted to make sure it wasn’t something really bad.

“But they are all over the moon for me. Throughout my time at Morrisons the people were all really supportive. It did not matter how mad my idea was they were always behind me. Personally to bring some more diversity to the job was also important as I had never been able to do that before.”

Sir John TImpson paid a visit to the Gyle store where Timpsons have a branch. He was delighted to find out about the charitable initiative which involved the coats being cleaned by his cleaning company.