THEY are the health workers, teachers and fundraisers recognised by Her Majesty for their contributions with the highest honours in the land.
More than 20 people from Edinburgh and the Lothians have today been named on the Queen’s New Year Honours list for their outstanding dedication to their chosen fields.
Martin Gardner, programme co-ordinator of International Conifer Conservation Programme, who is based at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, was given an MBE for services to horticultural conservation.
He said: “I’m absolutely delighted, both for myself but also for the Royal Botanic Garden, where I have worked for 22 years. I was surprised and shocked to receive it.
“The award is as much for the institution I work for and for conservation itself.
“But, I have to say, getting an award for conservation after all these years, I’m really rather proud.”
His work on the long-term project involves travelling the world where conifers are threatened, bringing back seeds from threatened populations and establishing a network of conservation sites in Britain and Ireland.
Also honoured is Professor Peter Higgs, the retired emeritus professor of theoretical physics at the University of Edinburgh, who has been made a Companion of Honour in recognition of his services to physics.
Prof Higgs, 83, has had an enormous impact on the world of physics. In 1964, he proposed a theory through which the fundamental particles of the universe may attain their mass, predicting the existence of a particle that became known as the Higgs boson.
Olympian Katherine Grainger and tennis star Andy Murray have also been recognised, with Edinburgh University graduate and Olympic gold medallist Grainger, left, saying she was “surprised and delighted” to receive a CBE for services to rowing.
Murray, right, who trained at Craiglockhart in the Capital and who won Olympic gold and the US Open this year, has been awarded an OBE.
The list also included people whose work in their local communities helps save lives, including Penicuik’s Bryan Finlay, community resuscitation development officer for the Scottish Ambulance Service, who has taught life-saving skills to hundreds of volunteers over the past 25 years.
Commenting on his British Empire Medal for services to healthcare and the community in the Lothians and Borders, he said: “My wife had called me to say an official looking letter had arrived. We thought it was something to do with tax, so I just told her to open it. We were flabbergasted when we realised what it really was.”
Douglas Currie, who has worked with the Scottish Community Drama Association since 1947, received a BEM for services to drama and teaching in Edinburgh.
The 83-year-old, who lives in the south of the city, said he was “very honoured”, adding: “It was such a surprise when the letter came through.”
Rose Ritchie, 81, was awarded a BEM in recognition of nearly three decades of volunteer work at the RNLI shop in South Queensferry.
Another BEM went to Mary Nicolson for more than 20 years of work at the Blackburn Family Centre. Ms Nicolson, 66, said she “thought someone was joking” when she first heard about the honour.
Dr Alice Doherty, of Musselburgh, also received a BEM, after working in her local Oxfam shop for more than 40 years. The 86-year-old said she was “stunned, living in a sort of cloud” since discovering she was to be included.
She said: “It’s been really difficult keeping this to myself, so I’m looking forward to being able to tell people.”
Honoured for his contribution to the world of physics is Prof Alan Walker, given an MBE for services to science engagement and science education in Scotland.
The 68-year-old, who lives in Portobello, said: “I’m honoured not only by the title, but also by the knowledge that other people think this is as important as I do.”
Those in the arts world were also recognised, including John Leighton, the director general of National Galleries of Scotland, who was given a knighthood for services to art.
The former director of the Van Gogh Museum helped to secure Titian’s masterpiece Diana and Actaeon for the gallery, and was also instrumental in bringing the Artist Rooms collection to the Capital.
He said: “I am thrilled and delighted with the honour but, above all, I am pleased that the great work of the National Galleries of Scotland has been recognised and the importance of the visual arts to cultural life in Scotland.”
Magnus Linklater, former editor of The Scotsman and The Times in Scotland, was given a CBE for services to the arts and media in Scotland.
Nica Burns, a successful theatre owner who is a leading figure in London’s West End, was handed an OBE.
Ms Burns is well known in Edinburgh for her work in comedy and theatre, and was one of the founders of the Perrier Comedy Awards.
Among the local people included in this year’s honours are . . .
Order of the Companions of Honour
• Professor Peter Ware Higgs, Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics, University of Edinburgh, for services to physics (Edinburgh)
• John Mark Nicholas Leighton, Director General, National Galleries of Scotland, for services to art (Edinburgh)
Royal Victorian Medal
• Mrs Doreen Elizabeth Fraser, Daily Lady, Palace of Holyroodhouse (Edinburgh)
• Magnus Duncan Linklater (pictured below), formerly editor, The Times in Scotland, for services to the arts and media in Scotland (Edinburgh)
Order of the British Empire (OBE)
• George James Brechin, formerly chief executive, NHS Fife, for services to the NHS (Edinburgh)
• George Fairgrieve, manager, food safety/health and safety, East Lothian Council and chair, Scottish Food Enforcement Liaison Committee, for services to consumer protection (North Berwick, East Lothian)
• Professor Howard Laurence Liddell, co-founder, Scottish Ecological Design Association, for services to ecological design and charity (Edinburgh)
• Ms Isobel Anne Poole, formerly Sheriff, for services to justice in Scotland and the community in Edinburgh (Edinburgh)
• Professor David Porteous, FRSE Professor of Human Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, for services to science (Edinburgh)
• Dr Edward Bruce Ritson, chair, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems, for services to alcohol research (Edinburgh)
Member of the British Empire (MBE)
• Ms Tracey Berry, family support teacher, Forthview Primary School, Edinburgh, for services to Education (Corstorphine, Edinburgh)
• Mrs Elizabeth Pitcairn (pictured above right), for services to Young People in Scotland through the Girl Guides (Balerno, Edinburgh)
• Douglas Roxburgh, for services to residential child care in Edinburgh (Edinburgh)
• Alan Walker, Honorary Fellow, University of Edinburgh, for services to science engagement and science education in Scotland (Edinburgh)
British Empire Medal
• Mrs Mary Catherine Anderson, centre manager, The Broomhouse Centre, for services to the community in Broomhouse (Edinburgh)
• Douglas Noble Currie, for services to drama and teaching in Edinburgh (Edinburgh).
• Dr Alice Doherty, for services to Oxfam Musselburgh (Musselburgh, East Lothian)
• Bryan Finlay, community resuscitation development officer, Scottish Ambulance Service, for services to healthcare and the community in the Lothians and Borders (Penicuik, Midlothian)
• Thomas Louis Gilzean, for services to charitable fundraising in Edinburgh (Edinburgh)
• Mrs Mary Nicolson. chair, Blackburn Family Centre, for services to the community in Blackburn, (West Lothian)
• Miss Rosemary Ritchie, volunteer, Queensferry RNLI shop, for services to maritime safety
Queen’s Fire Service Medal
• David Millar, acting chief officer, Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service