Scots paralympic champions honoured by the Queen at Holyrood

Three Paralympic gold medallists have spoken of their pride as they added an honour from the Queen to their tally of awards.

Wheelchair tennis player Gordon Reid after receiving his MBE for services to sport from during an Investiture ceremony at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Wheelchair tennis star Gordon Reid, athlete Jo Butterfield and cyclist Karen Darke were all made MBEs at an investiture ceremony in Edinburgh.

The Scots all scooped gold for the ParalympicsGB team in their disciplines at the Rio Games last year.

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After the ceremony at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Reid said: “It feels great, it’s really a proud moment to receive an MBE from the Queen.”

He said it was great to share the day with his parents and tennis coach, “the three people that have helped me get here the most out of anyone”.

Kilted Reid won Wimbledon’s men’s doubles title for the first time last summer, having already triumphed at the 2015 US Open and twice at the French Open.

He also became singles champion at the Australian Open and Wimbledon last year, and landed the Paralympic singles gold medal.

He described 2016 as an “amazing year” that “went by in a flash”, and said he is looking forward to defending his Wimbledon titles.

“I’m feeling good, I’m looking forward to getting back on the grass,” he said. “It’s always a great feeling playing at Wimbledon, it’s such a special place to be.”

Butterfield said the experience of going to the palace was “a bit surreal”, but added: “It’s a really nice feeling after what happened with Rio.”

She claimed gold at the Games in the F51 club throw.

On her conversation with the Queen during the ceremony, she said: “Obviously we talked about Rio and it being the first Paralympics that I’d been to. It was nice, quite friendly.”

She is now gearing up to defend her title at the world championships in London later this month and says she is looking forward to getting in front of the home crowd.

Darke, who won the H1-3 time trial to secure a cycling gold, said it was a “great honour” to be made an MBE.

Among the dozens being honoured in the palace’s Great Gallery was poet laureate Professor Carol Ann Duffy, who was made a Dame in the New Year Honours List in December 2014.

The Glasgow-born writer received the honour for services to poetry.

Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, was made an MBE for services to social enterprise and entrepreneurship in Scotland.

The Social Bite cafes allow customers to “pay forward” coffee or a meal for the homeless and about a quarter of its staff are formerly homeless themselves.

Others attending the investiture ceremony included Michael Cavanagh, who was chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland and was made an OBE for services to sport and the Commonwealth Games movement, while Professor Susan Deacon, assistant principal of the University of Edinburgh, was made a CBE for services to business, education and public service.