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New Year Honours: Gongs for famous and not so famous

Ewan McGregor is among the famous Scots honoured today

Ewan McGregor is among the famous Scots honoured today

  • by SCOTT MACNAB
 

HOLLYWOOD star Ewan McGregor is among the famous Scots honoured today, picking up an OBE, while the Edinburgh-based professor who foresaw the existence of the recently discovered “God particle” also gets a gong.

Violinist Nicola Benedetti gets an MBE, along with the actress Siobhan Redmond, but the honours list includes Scots from a range of backgrounds.

Star Wars star McGregor, 41, receives an OBE for his services to drama and charity.

The actor, originally from Crieff, Perthshire, is an ambassador for Unicef and became a supporter of the charity after visiting some of its projects in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, as part of his round-the world motorcycle trip, Long Way Round.

He first found fame in the Edinburgh based macabre thriller Shallow Grave, but became an international star with the role of heroin addict Renton in the movie adaption of Irvine Welsh’s novel Trainspotting.

He said: “The downside is that it takes you away from your family, and kids who are in school. But the upside is that you get these incredible adventures.”

Professor Peter Higgs is made a Companion of Honour, after scientists at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN announced this year they had discovered a particle matching the description of the academic’s “God particle” also known as the “Higgs boson”.

It follows publication of a paper almost four decades ago by Prof Higgs, which first described existence of a particle that gives matter mass.

The finding topped the list of most important discoveries of 2012 according to the prestigious Science journal. The 83-year-old retired professor said: “It’s very nice to be right sometimes” when the discovery was announced.

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1929, he graduated with first class honours in physics from King’s College, University of London, in 1950. He completed a PhD over the next four years, before starting a long association with the University of Edinburgh.

Ms Redmond receives an MBE for services to drama. The red-haired actress, who was born in Tollcross, Glasgow, made her television debut in the early 1980s before starring in shows including Taggart and Holby City.

The same honour goes to violinist Nicola Benedetti for her services to music and ­charity. Benedetti, who was born in West Kilbride, first began violin lessons at the age of five and was named BBC’s Young Musician of the Year, in 2004, at the age of 16.

The 25-year-old said: “I am deeply honoured to receive an MBE. This has come as a real surprise to me and I am humbled.

“I hope this honour can help me continue to draw attention to the importance of classical music and the arts in British ­society.”

Benedetti, whose father is Italian and mother Scottish, began learning her instrument at the age of four, and had completed all eight musical grades by the age of nine.

Others who are honoured include John Leighton, the director general of the National Galleries of Scotland, who is knighted for his services to art.

Knighthoods also go to Professor Ian Diamond, the principal and vice chancellor of Aberdeen University, for his services to social science and higher education and Edinburgh-born Professor Hew Strachan, the Chichele Professor of the History of War at All Souls College, Oxford.

He was previously Professor of Modern History at Glasgow University and was also director of the Scottish Centre for War Studies.

Orkney jewellery designer Sheila Fleet, who set up her business almost two decades ago in 1993, is honoured with an OBE for services to the industry.

Her family-run business, Sheila Fleet Jewellery, has grown to become one of the biggest employers in the rural countryside of Orkney.

The 67-year-old said: “I was extremely surprised and delighted of course.

“It was very unexpected and after 44 years in the jewellery industry I’m delighted, it’s the icing on the cake.”

Designer Joyce Young, who creates wedding dresses and mother of the bride outfits, is ­another to receive an OBE.

Ms Young, who launched her company By Storm in 1993 having been a designer in the fashion industry since graduating from the prestigious Glasgow School of Art in 1975, is being honoured for her services to the textile industry and the community in Glasgow.

Douglas Campbell, 66, who rose through the ranks from tea boy to master distiller at a whisky company is “delighted and surprised” to be named an MBE.

He has been recognised for his work at Tomatin Distillery and in the community of Strathdearn, Inverness-shire, for more than 50 years.

As well as working his way up the management of the distillery and growing the business Mr Campbell and his wife fostered 23 children.

Read more on the New Year Honours

• The list of those being honoured today
• The list of those being honoured for their roles in the Olympic and Paralympic games
• An analysis of the honours hierarchy
• A breakdown of more honours

 

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