A WELL-KNOWN Cumnock shopkeeper has been named as Scotland's High Street Hero for her work in the town - and the community.

Marion Gilliland, who goes to extraordinary lengths to help her town and townsfolk has been hailed as a true community champion as dedication and innovation are celebrated at the Scotland Loves Local Awards.

Marion has run her family gift shop - Presents and Correct - in Cumnock for more than 30 years, becoming a powerful force for good in her community.

Not only has she made her Townhead Street store a safe place for all, but she has helped secure tens of thousands of pounds of improvements for other businesses, goes above and beyond to meet customers’ needs, champions charitable causes and supports seriously ill friends - all while dealing with her own health challenges.

That work, both individually and as a leading light in Cumnock Business Association, saw her named as High Street Hero at the Scotland Loves Local Awards.

Organised by Scotland's Towns Partnership (STP), the awards recognise and reward the remarkable work taking place to improve communities. The High Street Hero accolade was sponsored by Spar Scotland.

Marion, 50, who helped serve her first customer in the shop aged eight and is currently recovering from a stroke, said: “Every part of this business is in my blood.

“Cumnock means so much to me because of the people. Here in the shop we try to make sure that everyone’s looked after.

“I just do what I’m here to do - it’s just my job. I’m so grateful to anyone who nominated me.”

On her recent health issues, she added: “Two weeks ago I took a stroke. I got a tremendous service from the NHS at Crosshouse. It’s been a scary few weeks, but my family and staff have been outstanding. My shop could have closed were it not for them.

“The support I’ve had from customers has been outstanding. They have been amazing. We are very lucky here in Cumnock. The people here support those who have been there for them.”

As part of Cumnock Business Association, Marion recently supported other businesses in the town to access shop frontage improvements totalling £30,000 - helping them through the application process, even while in hospital herself.

Cumnock Chronicle: Marion's work helped transform shops in the town, such as QBS (Image- Cumnock Business Association)Marion's work helped transform shops in the town, such as QBS (Image- Cumnock Business Association) (Image: Cumnock Business Association)

Marion’s colleague and long-standing friend Alyson Kidd, who works with her at Presents and Correct, led the praise for her.

She is currently going through stage five renal failure and has benefited directly from Marion’s kindness, including her raising more than £5,000 to install a dialysis unit in her home.

Alyson said: “We’ve got a saying in our family - WWMD. What would Marion do? If we’re faced with something and we don’t know how to approach it, we just think WWMD and usually find a solution.

“I was recently thinking about Christmas and what I got for people last year. Then I realised I didn’t. I was in hospital. Things were bad and Marion sorted it out.

“She’s the type of person who’s so subtle. She just scoops you up and makes sure everything’s seen to. She just knows what to do.

“To say Marion is a high street hero is an understatement. She is one of life’s true heroes and really cares for her community and customers.”



Posted by Marion Gifts Gilliland on Saturday, 17 April 2021

Gift-wrapping fees in Presents and Correct, which Marion has declared a safe space for anyone who needs or wants to call in, are also donated to the MND Association, a pledge that has so far raised more than £24,000.

Tracy Murray, Town Centre Regeneration Officer at East Ayrshire Council, works closely with Marion.

She said: “Marion’s usually my first port of call when I need something done. I know I can rely on her to get things done.

“She’s so passionate about Cumnock and ensuring the right things happen - but she does it very quietly. She does it because she cares. She loves Cumnock and loves the people. It’s amazing.”

Claire Donnelly, of Cumnock Business Association, added: “Marion’s a high street hero because of her commitment to the town, the community, the fact that everyone’s welcome in her shop and that she’s committed to helping other businesses in the town so that Cumnock’s a great place to be.

“She is just a great ambassador for Cumnock.”