Scots MND campaigner heads birthday honours list

Gordon Aikman. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Gordon Aikman. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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A MOTOR neurone disease campaigner who has raised almost £300,000 to research the deadly condition is among many Scots who are recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Gordon Aikman, 30, from Edinburgh, who successfully lobbied the First Minister to publicly fund and double the number of specialist MND nurses across Scotland, is being awarded the British Empire Medal for his efforts to raise awareness of the disease, with which he was diagnosed last year.

Mr Aikman said: “Wow. I am absolutely thrilled. I am completely over the moon to receive this incredible honour.

“Day in, day out, thousands of people across this country are bravely battling this disease. I want to share this honour with each and every one of my fellow fighters.”

Speaking about his efforts to fund research into a cure, he said: “It’s too late for me, but we can and we must find a cure for future generations. With every day I have left, I will be fighting for a world free of MND.”

Scots from all walks of life are celebrated in the awards, with Aileen Paterson, the creator of Maisie the Kitten, also amongst those to receive an honour.

The author, who penned the much-loved series of books about the adventures of a cat from Edinburgh’s Morningside, is being awarded an MBE for services to children’s literature.

Scottish TV producer Steven Moffat, the driving force behind hit TV shows Sherlock and Doctor Who, said he was “just really, really happy” to get an OBE for services to drama.

He said: “I never thought I would get something like this. I’m astonished and more thrilled than I ever thought. I’m not the least bit cynical, or the least bit trying to be cool about it. I’m just really, really happy.”

Hailing from Paisley, he wrote some of the episodes for the revived Doctor Who and took over from Russell T Davies as executive producer and chief writer on the show in 2008. Since then, he has guided the show to new heights and steered it successfully through several regenerations of its title character.

Broadcaster Nicky Campbell, from Edinburgh, has said he is “supremely proud” at being given an OBE for services to children. Campbell, a regular on TV and radio for years, has spoken openly about his experience of being adopted and is a patron of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF).

He said: “I am genuinely flabbergasted and if I have in any small way helped raise the profile of adoption and fostering then I’m supremely proud.”

Born and raised in Edinburgh, he was adopted as a baby by Frank and Sheila Campbell, and wrote a 2004 book about his own experience called Blue Eyed Son.

From the sporting world, Peter Dawson, the chief executive of the R&A and secretary of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, is recognised.

Mr Dawson, who will step down in September after 16 years leading the body which organises the prestigious Open Championship, receives an OBE.

It comes after the famous golf club voted last September in favour of allowing women members to join its ranks for the first time in its 260-year history.

Iain McMillan, who was the director of the CBI in Scotland for almost two decades, is to be knighted for his services to the economy north of the Border.

He joined the business organisation after a 23-year career in banking and took on the role of director in 1995, staying in the position until he announced last year he was stepping down.

James Macmillan, 55, who wrote a new choral piece which was sung when Pope Benedict XVI conducted mass at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow in 2010, is also being knighted.

It comes after the composer, who was born in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, previously described the high point of his career as “writing a piece for the unveiling of a statue of the founder of Celtic FC”.

He said: “I am totally delighted to receive this honour. I am especially pleased that the world of music, and contemporary composition in particular, will receive greater focus and recognition as a result.

“I feel encouraged and re-energised in my commitments in these fields and especially in my work with the new festival in Ayrshire, the Cumnock Tryst.”

The same honour goes to Professor Pete Downes, who has been the principal and vice-chancellor of Dundee University since 2009, in recognition of his work in higher education and life sciences. He has said he feels his knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list is an award for the whole institution.

Dr Lena Wilson, the chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, the national economic development agency, is recognised for her efforts with the Royal Victorian Order.

As part of her role, she has travelled to more than 60 countries across the world, promoting Scottish business interests and advising governments on foreign investment and private sector development.

Lynne McNicoll, who has raised more than £1 million to support children with cancer and their families, will be presented with an OBE.

She said: “I am astonished to receive this sort of recognition, it’s a tremendous honour. I lead a unique team of volunteers, including our trustees, who have supported so many families through their cancer ordeal.”