Feast of honours for great and good of Lothian

ONE of Edinburgh's top restaurateurs and the chief executive of the city council were among the people from the Lothians recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list today.

James Thomson, owner of The Witchery and The Tower, received an OBE while Tom Aitchison was made a CBE.

The pair were joined by a race relations campaigner, the retired chairman of Sportscotland and the wife of former Linlithgow MP and Father of the House, Tam Dalyell.

Dr Mac Armstrong, who recently retired as the nation's Chief Medical Officer, was rewarded with the Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB), while Hilary Mounfield was recognised for her work leading charity group Epilepsy Scotland.

A host of prominent figures in the fields of science, medicine, law, tourism and business also picked up gongs.

Kathleen Dalyell was rewarded with an OBE for services to the environment after stepping down earlier this year as chair of the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Scotland.

Her husband, who recently took up his seat in the House of Lords was said to be "pleased" his wife's work had been recognised.

Mrs Dalyell, 67, said: "As a lay person, I see this honour as a tribute to the dedicated and knowledgeable people who carried out such brilliant work."

Founded in 1908, the commission is involved with documenting the nation's heritage in photographs and drawings.

Race relations campaigner Mohammad Aslam, 66, of Bellview Place, in the city's New Town, was "delighted" to be awarded an MBE for his services to community relations. Mr Aslam, who moved to Scotland from Pakistan in 1968, is currently the chairman of the Lothian Racial Equality Council, the Pakistani Association for Edinburgh and the East of Scotland and Victim Support Edinburgh.

"Most of my work has been helping people from racial minorities with matters such as housing and jobs," he said.

"The Pakistani Association helps people originally from Pakistan who have moved to Scotland. During my time as chairman, we have set up the Edinburgh Pakistani Cricket Club which has been a great success. I'm very proud to be given this honour," said Mr Aslam, who runs a property business.

Mr Aitchison has worked in the public sector since 1975, taking on the role of chief executive of Lothian Regional Council in 1994 and chief executive of the city council the following year.

Married to his wife Kate with three children, he received his CBE for services to local government.

"As a boy growing up in Leith, I never for one moment thought that I would one day be chief executive of the City of Edinburgh Council, let alone be awarded an honour by her Majesty the Queen," said the 54-year-old.

"I am delighted that my service to local government has been recognised with the award. I have been fortunate in the support I have received from many colleagues over the years and I thank all of them for this."

Mr Thomson is renowned for the success he has made of The Witchery, next to Edinburgh Castle, and The Tower, on top of the Museum of Scotland. He receives an OBE for services to the hospitality and tourism industry.

The flamboyant entrepreneur - who also masterminded a revamp of the Prestonfield Hotel - has notched up visits from stars such as Jack Nicholson, Catherine Zeta Jones and Pierce Brosnan.

"It came as quite a shock when I received the letter from Downing Street a few weeks ago," he said. "It was difficult to keep it secret but I managed it. This is a great honour as it's always nice to get recognition."

Mr Thomson also serves as vice-chairman of the British Hospitality Association.

He added: "The industry has changed greatly in recent years. I've always tried to do my bit for tourism."

Alastair Dempster, chairman of Sportscotland, will be made a CBE for services to sport as he prepares to retire from the post on June 30.

A former chief executive of Lloyds TSB, he took up the job six years ago to pursue a keen interest in sports.

Mr Dempster, 64, of Colinton, was at the forefront of a successful bid to bring the Ryder Cup to Gleneagles in 2014 and sits on a regional committee working to secure the 2012 Olympics Games for London.

"I was also heavily involved in the Active Schools programme to increase sporting activity among our schoolchildren," he said.

"I'm delighted to receive this honour but I also see it as a reward for what Sportscotland has achieved. I'm confident that the building blocks are now in place for the future."

Ms Mounfield retired as chief executive of Epilepsy Scotland last month and has been honoured with an OBE for helping sufferers with the condition.

The 63-year-old, who lives in Forth Street, Broughton, has been a prominent campaigner during her ten-year stint in the post.

She said: "I'm pleased that our work has made some difference and put epilepsy on the health agenda, because it wasn't ten years ago.

"It's wonderful that someone took the time to nominate me. I don't know who it was yet but I'll soon find out."

The former teacher is hoping to pick up her award at Buckingham Palace.

"My children live in London and I would like to make it a big day for them," she said. Professor Adrian Bird, Buchanan Professor of Genetics at the University of Edinburgh, was also made a CBE for services to science.

He led a research team that discovered a "guardian angel" enzyme that fights cancer in 2002. The discovery was hailed as a major breakthrough in understanding how cancer starts in the body and how it could be treated.

Bathgate-based Donald Macdonald, executive chair of Macdonald Hotels, received an OBE for his efforts to promote Scottish tourism while John Anderson, chair of the Edinburgh Children's Panel, is honoured with an MBE.

Dr Anna Gregor, consultant oncologist at the Edinburgh Cancer Centre, was also recognised for her services to medicine with a CBE.

There's nothing hooky about it Del Boy's gong is lovely jubbly

ACTOR David Jason and veteran broadcaster Terry Wogan head today's star-studded list of figures from show business, sport, the arts and industry who receive honours.

Jason, right, known to millions as the dodgy dealer Derek Trotter in the TV hit sitcom Only Fools and Horses, received a knighthood, while Wogan was given an honorary knighthood.

Musician Midge Ure, currently organising Live8 with Bob Geldof, and presenter Jonathan Ross were also honoured with OBEs.

Oscar winner Dame Judi Dench, one of Britain's best-loved actresses, becomes a Companion of Honour.

One of Scotland's longest-serving entertainers was awarded the MBE.

Ronnie Coburn was born in Edinburgh but was adopted by the city of Dundee as a much-loved comic during the music hall era in the city.

In the world of industry, Scots business tycoon Tom Hunter, who has given away many of the millions he made from the Sports Division retail chain which he founded, is awarded a knighthood for services to philanthropy and entrepreneurship.

And Chris Gorman, a founder of mobile phone firm DX Communications who later established his own internet company, received an OBE for services to business.

Jimmy Page, a founder of both the Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin, gets an OBE in the Diplomatic List, for services to the street children in Brazil.

Roll call for local heroes


Dr Mac Armstrong. Lately Chief Medical Officer, Scottish Executive. (Edinburgh)

Professor James Gallagher. Head, Justice Department, Scottish Executive. (Edinburgh)


Mrs Iola Fass. Formerly assistant to the Purse Bearer to the Lord High Commissioner. (Edinburgh)


Tom Aitchison. Chief Executive, City of Edinburgh Council. For services to local government. (Edinburgh)

Professor Adrian Bird. Buchanan Professor of Genetics, University of Edinburgh. For services to science. (Edinburgh)

Alastair Cox Dempster. Chair, Sportscotland. For services to sport in Scotland. (Edinburgh)

Professor David Fowler. Science Director, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Natural Environment Research Council. For services to atmospheric pollution. (Tranent, East Lothian)

Dr Anna Gregor. Consultant Oncologist, Edinburgh Cancer Centre. For services to medicine. (Edinburgh)

Vikram Lall. Chair, Scottish Industrial Development Advisory Board. For services to business in Scotland. (Drem, East Lothian)

Professor Kenneth Reid. Professor of Property Law, University of Edinburgh and a Scottish Law Commissioner. For services to law reform in Scotland. (Edinburgh)

Professor Elizabeth Tait. Director, Innogen Centre, Economic and Social Research Council, University of Edinburgh. For services to social science. (Edinburgh)


Patricia Bagot. Head, Supporting People Strategies Branch, Development Department, Housing Group, Scottish Executive. Edinburgh)

Michael Cooney. Deputy Director Service, Scotland, Inland Revenue. (Edinburgh)

Kathleen Dalyell, DL. Lately Chair, Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments for Scotland. For services to the environment. (Linlithgow)

Professor Annabelle Glasier. Director, Family Planning and Well Women Services, Lothian NHS Board, Edinburgh. (Edinburgh)

Jean Harper. Lately Senior Staff Team Leader, Office of the Permanent Secretary, Scottish Executive (East Calder, West Lothian)

Donald Macdonald. Executive Chair, Macdonald Hotels Ltd. For services to tourism in Scotland. (Bathgate, West Lothian)

Hilary Mounfield. Lately Chief Executive, Epilepsy Scotland. For services to people with epilepsy. (Edinburgh)

Professor Pamela Munn. Professor of Curriculum Research and Head, Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh. For services to education in Scotland. (Edinburgh)

James Thomson. Vice-Chair, British Hospitality Association/Restaurateurs' Association Committee. For services to the hospitality and tourist industries. (Edinburgh)


John Anderson, JP. Chair, Edinburgh Children's Panel. For services to the children's hearings system in Scotland. (Edinburgh)

Mohammad Aslam. For services to community relations. (Edinburgh)

John Vernon Gifford. Head of Research, The Buildings of Scotland Trust. For services to heritage in Scotland. (Edinburgh)

Dr Elizabeth Morris. General Medical Practitioner, Edinburgh. For services to healthcare. (Edinburgh)

Virginia Spencer. Lately Project Officer, The Scottish Parliament. (Edinburgh)

Colin Warwick. Photographer, University of Edin-burgh. For ser-vices to Veterinary Education. (Edinburgh)