Edinburgh University lecture theatre renamed to honour Gordon Aikman

Gordon Aikman, MND campaigner, who is to have a lecutre theatre named after him.''Picture: Lisa Ferguson/TSPL.
Gordon Aikman, MND campaigner, who is to have a lecutre theatre named after him.''Picture: Lisa Ferguson/TSPL.
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Gordon Aikman, motor neurone disease (MND) campaigner, is being honoured by his former university one year after his death.

The University of Edinburgh’s George Square Lecture Theatre – the largest on campus – is to be renamed in memory of the Business School graduate who raised more than £500,000 for research funding.

MND campaigner Gordon Aikman. Picture: TSPL

MND campaigner Gordon Aikman. Picture: TSPL

Mr Aikman, who successfully lobbied the First Minister to publicly fund and double the number of specialist MND nurses across Scotland, died from the debilitating disease in February 2017, age 31.

Kirkcaldy-born Mr Aikman was diagnosed with MND in June 2014 while working as director of research during the Better Together campaign.

READ THIS: Obituary: Gordon Aikman, political campaigner and MND campaigner

He then launched a “Five-Point Fightback” campaign calling for increased funding to find a cure for the condition, winning support from all political parties UK-wide.

In 2015, the former student received an honorary doctorate from the university and a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s birthday honours.

Both accolades recognised his work to raise awareness of MND and achieve better care and treatment for those diagnosed.

Joe Pike, Mr Aikman’s husband, said: “We are all very touched by the university’s very generous decision.

“It seems fitting that Gordon’s work as a campaigner has been recognised after a campaign by the student body he was once an active member of. “And how wonderful that the lecture hall Gordon sat in aged 18 as a first year Business student, will now bear his name,” Mr Pike, a political journalist added.

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The move to honour Mr Aikman by renaming the lecture theatre after him was proposed by the university’s student union.

A formal naming ceremony of the Gordon Aikman Lecture Theatre and plaque unveiling with Mr Aikman’s family and friends is to take place later this year.

Welcoming the tribute, Professor Charlie Jeffery, the university’s senior vice-principal, said: “Gordon Aikman was a tenacious campaigner. By striving to change the quality and funding of care and research, he helped to improve the lives of people living with MND and was an inspiration to many.

“We are delighted to honour his remarkable achievements in this way.”

Patrick Kilduff, president of the university’s Students’ Association, said: “On behalf of students of Edinburgh past and present, we are so proud that a student as inspiring and important as Gordon is being honoured by having the largest lecture theatre in the University named after him.

“It is appropriate his legacy and fight to raise awareness around MND will continue for years to come.”