Wiltshire Community Foundation CEO awarded BEM!

Wiltshire Community Foundation chief executive Rosemary Macdonald has been awarded a British Empire Medal for her services to the county in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Mrs Macdonald, 54, of Westbury Leigh, said the honour came out of the blue. “I didn’t expect it at all. It is hugely humbling that people think what I’ve done is worthy of this honour because I would have done it anyway, I think the work is so important.

“I think everyone at the community foundation, the staff, the trustees and the supporters, will be very proud that our work has been recognised in this way. It is wonderful.”

Aside from her role at the community foundation, which is based in Devizes and works with hundreds of charities and voluntary groups across the county, Mrs Macdonald has been a director of the Salisbury Playhouse since 2011.

She is a fervent ambassador for the theatre and its work. She also sits on the theatre’s development committee.

 Last year she was part of the advisory board that merged the Playhouse, Salisbury Arts Centre and the Salisbury International Festival to form Wiltshire Creative, which aims to promote the arts and put it on a more sound financial footing.

In 2013 she was asked to become a lay Canon of Salisbury Cathedral. She has been a member of Salisbury Diocese’s social justice committee and helped draw up its social justice policy. Earlier this year she was part of the selection panel that appointed the new Dean. She has been re-appointed as a lay Canon for a further five years.

Through her work with the community foundation she also played a role in the project to open a Julia’s House Children’s Hospice in Devizes. She used her contacts to bring in a £1 million from a private donor to help the charity reach its target.

Mrs Macdonald was born in Norwich but grew up in Canada. She met her husband Fraser when she was aged 17 and on exercise when she was a member of the Canadian army reserve. At the time he was a captain in the British Army and was helping with the exercise. They were married a year later in July 1982.

They lived all over the UK and in Germany and Northern Ireland while Mr Macdonald, 62, was on army postings. They have two children, Lizzie and Edward.

After they were posted to Warminster Mrs Macdonald worked in marketing for two law firms and for the Wessex Association of Chambers of Commerce in Trowbridge, Marlborough, Swindon and Salisbury. She became a trustee of the community foundation in 2006 before becoming chief executive in 2008.

She said working at the community foundation has helped make her feel like she belongs in Wiltshire. “I have gained a real appreciation for my county and a real sense of belonging,” she said. “I went to 11 different schools and we had 12 houses in 12 years in the army. Wiltshire is the place I call home.”

She said the things that have given her the most pride from the work she has done in Wiltshire are the working relationships she has formed. “I am most proud of the people I have worked with, whether it has been at the community foundation, the Playhouse or the cathedral,” she said.

“There have been some amazing people and seeing how passionate they are about their jobs has been great. Without them it would all be a bit pointless really.”

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