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Inverness court officer awarded for decades of service

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Bill Paterson with Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle.
Bill Paterson with Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle.

A long-serving court officer has been presented with the Imperial Service Medal for meritorious service with the civil service.

It would have been one of the last tasks of the late Queen Elizabeth II before she died to sign the order to recognise retired police sergeant Bill Paterson’s time at the sheriff courts when they were based at Inverness Castle.

In a remarkable coincidence, Mr Paterson’s father William, a former Chief Constable of the old Inverness Burgh Police, received the King’s Police Medal just before King George VI died in 1952.

The medal is in recognition of more than 25 years service at Inverness Sheriff Court and was presented to Mr Paterson by Sheriff Principal of Grampian, Highland and Islands, Derek Pyle at the new Inverness Justice Centre.

Sheriff Pyle said: “I was a temporary sheriff in May 1999 and Bill was very kind to me when I was at Inverness Castle.

“I met him again in 2005 when I became a full-time sheriff and he showed me around.

“Bill was an incredibly important person to the running of the court.”

Mr Paterson’s connection with the castle, just like that of his father before him, spans decades.

He joined Inverness County Police in September 1961 and most of his career was spent at the castle.

Of the medal presentation last week he said: “This is a great honour as I was not aware that I had been nominated.

“I retired from the police in 1994 and then joined the court service, again working at the castle.

“I hoped I would finish my working life there, but Covid came along and I was told I must go home and shield as I was over 70 years of age.

“I would have loved to have been able to continue at the castle but to be recognised in this way is overwhelming.”

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