MND Campaigner Among Honoured Scots

13 June 2015, 05:00

A motor neurone disease patient who has raised almost £300,000 to research the deadly condition is among Scots who are recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Gordon Aikman, 30, from Edinburgh, is being awarded the British Empire Medal for his efforts to raise awareness of the disease, which he was diagnosed with last year.

Scots from all walks of life are celebrated in the awards, with Aileen Paterson, the creator of Maisie the kitten, also amongst those to receive an honour.

The author, who penned the much-loved series of books about adventures of a cat from Edinburgh's Morningside, is being awarded with an MBE for services to children's literature.

From the sporting world, Peter Dawson, the chief executive of The R&A and secretary of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, is recognised.

Mr Dawson, who will step down in September after 16 years leading the body which organises the prestigious Open Championship, receives an OBE.

It comes after the famous golf club voted last September in favour of allowing women members to join its ranks for the first time in its 260-year history.

Iain McMillan, who was the director of the CBI in Scotland for almost two decades, is to be knighted for his services to the economy north of the border.

He joined the business organisation after a 23-year career in banking and took on the role of director in 1995, staying in the position until he announced last year he was stepping down.

James MacMillan, who wrote a new choral piece which was sung when Pope Benedict XVI conducted mass at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow in 2010, is also being knighted.

It comes after the composer, who was born in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, previously described the high point of his career as "writing a piece for the unveiling of a statue of the founder of Celtic FC''.

The same honour goes to Professor Pete Downes, who has been the principal and vice-chancellor of Dundee University since 2009, in recognition of his work in higher education and life sciences.

Dr Lena Wilson, the chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, the national economic development agency, is recognised for her efforts with the Royal Victorian Order.

As part of her role, she has travelled to more than 60 countries across the world, promoting Scottish business interests and advising governments on foreign investment and private sector development.

Campaigner John Muir, who led demands for tougher sentences for knife crime after his son was stabbed to death in the centre of Greenock, is also being honoured.

Mr Muir, the founder of the Inverclyde Anti-Knife Group, will receive an MBE for his services to victims of crime and crime prevention following the killing of his son Damian in 2007.

Lynne McNicoll, who has raised more than £1million to support children with cancer and their families, will be presented with an OBE.

Her fundraising activities inspired her to set up the Edinburgh-based charity It's Good 2 Give five years ago, and she has continued to raise funds despite being diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year.

She said: "I am astonished to receive this sort of recognition, it's a tremendous honour. I lead a unique team of volunteers, including our trustees, who have supported so many families through their cancer ordeal.''

The charity is currently raising funds to build a special centre where youngsters with cancer and their families can go for breaks of up to seven days.

Mrs McNicoll added: "I'm delighted to accept an OBE at this very special time in the life of our charity. It is a sad reality that some 160,000 children in the UK are diagnosed with cancer every year. Families are quickly thrown into despair dealing with the news and then can completely break down when children, some as young as two, have to endure chemotherapy.

"These courageous children and their families deserve every good fortune in their lives going forward. Our gift to them will be a short break at our Ripple Retreat. This will be a magnificent legacy for the charity, our generous supporters and the families we have been proud to help at a difficult time in their lives.''

Mr Aikman, who set up his campaign after being diagnosed, said: "Wow. I am absolutely thrilled. I am completely over the moon to receive this incredible honour.

"Day in, day out thousands of people across this country are bravely battling this disease. I want to share this honour with each and every one of my fellow fighters.

"We've achieved so much this year, but there is much still to do. Eighty to 95% of MND patients experience voice loss before they die. We need urgent Scottish Government action to ensure that nobody dies without a voice.

Speaking about his efforts to fund research into a cure, he said: ``It's too late for me, but we can and we must find a cure for future generations. With every day I have left I will be fighting for a world free of MND.''

MND Campaigner Among Honoured Scots