Leader: 'People who have inspired us in 2011'

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NO-one would question that the line-up of stars and unsung heroes from the Lothians who are honoured by the Queen today make up an inspirational list.

From “matchbox surgeon” Gordon MacKinlay to champion fundraiser Margaret Laidlaw, there are many highly deserving recipients.

We warmly congratulate them all and apologise for ommitting them from the only slightly less prestigious Evening News awards.

In the spirit of the festive season, we aim simply to highlight those who have inspired us most over the last 12 months.

In a year where Hearts and Hibs have failed to shine, there was little doubt about our sports personality of the year.

Chris Paterson may have broken Scottish rugby records, but he has his MBE as consolation for missing out on our prize.

That goes to 13-year-old Alyshia Walker, who was banned from playing in a UK-wide cup final despite being Fauldhouse Foxes captain and top scorer – simply because she is female.

The furore over her ban helped force a change to the English Football Association rules, to allow girls of her age to compete in future.

Professor Peter Higgs may be on the verge of a Nobel Prize for his discovery of the so-called “God particle”, which appears to plug a gap in Albert Einstein’s theories.

But our lifetime achievement award goes to the late, great Eddie Turnbull, who touched more lives in Edinburgh than almost anyone in living memory. Eddie, you are sadly missed, even in Maroon parts of the city.

Our team of the year has to go to those members of the armed forces who continue to put life and limb on the line around the world.

And, last but not least, our person of the year . . . Jack “Draws Anything” Henderson. The talented seven-year-old put a smile on our face more often than anyone as he raised £32,000 for the Sick Kids.

So, there we are . . . without a mention of pandas or trams. All that remains is to wish all our readers, advertisers and contributors a Happy New Year.