Game of Thrones star on New Year Honours list

30 December 2017, 05:36 | Updated: 30 December 2017, 05:38

James Cosmo

Game Of Thrones star James Cosmo and record-breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont are among the high-profile Scots included in the New Year Honours list, which also sees elections expert Professor John Curtice knighted.

The 64-year-old politics professor from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow is well known to the public from his media and television work on polls and elections.

His exit poll in June's snap election revealed Theresa May was set to lose her Commons majority, despite the Tories having had a massive lead in the polls over Labour when the contest started - prompting some to suggest the psephologist was the real winner in the ballot.

Born in Cornwall, he studied at Oxford, and as well as his post at Strathclyde University, he is a senior research fellow at NatCen Social Research - Britain's largest independent social research agency - and president of the British Polling Council.

Sir John said he never expected the honour, but was "truly grateful".

The academic said: "Just six months ago the exit poll I led surprised everyone with a shock prediction that went on to be uncannily accurate. Now it is my turn to be surprised - and humbled - by the gracious decision to grant me a knighthood.

"It is not something I ever expected to happen. But it appears my attempts to analyse public opinion and outline its implications for the country's political life are appreciated, and for that I am duly grateful."

The same honour is also going to the Very Reverend Professor Iain Torrance, a former moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland who has been Pro-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen since 2013.

A former Territorial Army chaplain, during his time as moderator in 2004 he visited every British unit serving in Southern Iraq.

His inclusion in the Honours list is recognition of his services to higher education and theology.

Meanwhile, veteran Scots actor James Cosmo is honoured with an MBE for services to drama, having starred in films including Braveheart, Trainspotting and Highlander.

More recently he has appeared in the hit show Game Of Thrones and was one of the housemates in Celebrity Big Brother in 2017.

Cyclist Beaumont, who made headlines when he first broke the record for cycling round the world in 2008, is also recognised with a British Empire Medal.

The 34-year-old receives the award after undertaking a second record-breaking bike trip around the world this year, completing the massive journey in a time of 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "The Queen's New Year Honours list illustrates the achievements of many exceptional people from across Scotland who have shown outstanding service and dedication.

"From those who work in the field of education and business, medicine and mental health, to those who promote our country on the world's sporting stage and on screen, the Honours are a fitting way of celebrating their work.

"I also want to extend my congratulations to emergency service personnel who have been awarded The Queen's Fire, Police or Ambulance Service Medals. Our emergency services deserve our continued gratitude for helping to keep people and communities across Scotland safe, every day of the year."

Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell said: "I am pleased to see the New Year Honours 2018 recognise some of Scotland's most deserving volunteers, community leaders and public figures.

"From the achievements of prominent sporting greats such as Mark Beaumont to the inspirational local heroes of our communities whose tireless dedication, commitment and compassion benefit so many across the length and breadth of Scotland, it is right that we mark their dedication and commitment.

"I congratulate each and every recipient on their award - they truly deserve their recognition today and our thanks and praise for their contribution."

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson has been awarded a CBE for her services to political and public life.

It comes six months after the 37-year-old, who recently announced she is expecting her second child, won back her East Dunbartonshire constituency from the SNP.

She was just 25 when she was first elected to represent the area in 2005 and held the seat for 10 years, serving as a junior minister in the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition government.

She was ousted from the Commons in 2015, when Nicola Sturgeon's SNP won all but three seats in Scotland, but re-took the constituency in the 2017 snap general election.

Also honoured is Susan Rice, the chair of Scottish water and the Scottish Fiscal Commission - the independent body set up to forecast tax revenues north of the border will raise and spending on welfare, now these have been devolved to Holyrood.

She was the first ever woman to head a UK clearing bank when she was appointed chairman of Lloyds TSB Scotland in 2000.

She now becomes Dame Susan in recognition of her services to business, the arts and charity.

She said: "I hope my career illustrates the holistic relationship between business, our culture and the arts.

"To be appointed a DBE by Her Majesty is a source of great pride for me and my family. I trust it also salutes the many people I've worked with who also value the inherent link between business and society."

Economics expert Professor David Bell of Stirling University is awarded a CBE, with the same honour also going to former Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Jim Martin and Ben Thomson, a former chair of the National Galleries of Scotland who also set up the think tank Reform Scotland.

Dr Lesley Sawers, the Equality and Human Rights commissioner for Scotland, is honoured with an OBE, while David Duke, the founder and chief executive of Street Soccer Scotland, which uses football training programmes to help people make positive changes, receives an MBE.

The same award also goes to James Robson, the long-standing doctor to the Scotland national rugby team, and Los Angeles-based entertainment correspondent Ross King.

The Scot, who can be seen on the ITV morning shows Daybreak and Lorraine, was Britain's youngest daytime radio host when he was taken on by Radio Clyde, while his national TV career started after being chosen from over 3,600 hopefuls to host ITV's Young Krypton programme.

The honours list also recognises the work done by many ordinary Scots the length and breadth of the country.

Kay MacKay, 76, from the Isle of Lewis, receives an MBE for having dedicated more than 35 years to fundraising for Cancer Research UK.

Balwant Singh Chadha - who is known as Bob - is given the same honour for services to local government and community cohesion in the west of Scotland.

The 79-year-old has served for more than 50 years as a Justice of the Peace and was elected to North Lanarkshire Council in 1995, only stepping down as a councillor in 2017.