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Former reporter becomes deputy Lord Lieutenant

A former weekly newspaper chief reporter has been made a deputy Lord Lieutenant of Lanarkshire.

Helen Russell, former chief reporter of the Wishaw Press,learned of her appointment in a phone call from Lord Lieutenant Mushtaq Ahmad.

Now 70, Helen enjoyed two stints at the newspaper, interspersed with a spell in public relations with North Lanarkshire Council.

She returned to the Press after Scottish local government was reorganised in 1996, becoming chief reporter in 2002 before her retirement four years later.

Her new responsibilities will include assisting the Queen’s representative in arranging visits for members of the Royal family, presenting medals and awards on behalf of Her Majesty, advising on honours nominations, and participating in civic, voluntary and social activities.

She said:  “It is a pleasant surprise and a great honour. I didn’t know anything about it and then the Lord Lieutenant phoned and we met and talked about it.

“Where the nominations come from I don’t know, but I’m so proud and pleased to have been chosen.

“It’s the Queen’s appointment. If the Lord Lieutenant isn’t available to go to an event then the deputy will go in his place, the most common of which are 100-year-old birthdays and diamond wedding anniversaries.”

Helen was on the executive for the National Union of Journalists and is currently the secretary of Shotts Highland Games and the Schweinfurt Twinning Association.

She added:  “I am so pleased and surprised to have got this role.  I promise to do my best and the response I’ve had from the people of Shotts has been just great.”