Brave Doddie and talented Nicola top Scots in New Year honours list

Doddie and Nicola
Doddie Weir has been given an OBE and Nicola Benedetti the CBE

BBC Scotland is reporting that Scottish rugby legend Doddie Weir and violinist Nicola Benedetti have been recognised in the New Year Honours List.

Mr Weir, a prominent motor neurone disease campaigner, has been appointed an OBE while Ms Benedetti earns a CBE for services to music.

Businesswoman Ann Gloag and Commonwealth Games Federation president Louise Martin have been made dames.

Dundee University Prof Michael Ferguson has been awarded a knighthood.

More than 100 people across Scotland will collect awards in 2019.

Mr Weir, 48, began his rugby career at Melrose before going on to play for Borders, Newcastle Falcons and Scotland

The former lock announced in 2017 that he had been diagnosed with MND and went on to found the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, which has now raised more than £1m.

Weir has become an OBE for services to rugby, MND research and to the community in the Scottish Borders.

He said it was a “great honour” to receive the award.

“Myself, Kathy, Hamish, Angus and Ben – and those involved with the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation – have received incredible support from the rugby community and the Borders folk since I shared my diagnosis with everyone in June 2017.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their ongoing kindness and generosity.”

Ms Benedetti has said she is “very grateful” to be recognised in the New Year Honours List.

The Ayrshire-born musician is in demand with major orchestras across the globe and is renowned for her concerto performances.

Ms Benedetti, who is currently on tour in China with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, said: “I am very grateful to receive this honour and hope only to take this opportunity to further my fierce commitment to providing enrichment, inspiration and variation to the education system and communities of the UK.”

Ms Gloag, who co-founded the Stagecoach transport empire with her brother Sir Brian Souter, is made a dame for services to business and philanthropy.

In 2008 she set up the Perth-based charity Freedom from Fistula, which provides free maternity care and surgery to women injured in childbirth.

Its three main projects are in Sierra Leone, Malawi and Kenya.

The former nurse, from Perthshire, founded Kenya Children’s Homes in 2002 and is also involved with hospital ship charity Mercy Ships.

Ms Gloag, who was already an OBE, said: “I am pleased the honour mentions my nursing as what I learned as a nurse, dealing with people from all walks of life, helped me succeed in business and has been the cornerstone of my charitable work.”

Ms Martin is made a dame for services to sport.

The former swimmer was chairwoman of Commonwealth Games Scotland from 1999 until 2007 and chairwoman of sportscotland from 2008 to 2015.

She played a key role in bringing the Commonwealth Games to Glasgow and served as vice-chairwoman of the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee.

In September 2015 Ms Martin became the first female to be elected president of the CGF.

She said: “I am truly overwhelmed and humbled to be recognised in this way – and can’t imagine what my 16 year old self would have thought about this announcement when I first experienced the Commonwealth Games as a swimmer at the 1962 Games in Perth, Australia.”

Another woman with a global sporting role, World Curling Federation president Kate Caithness, has become a CBE.

Prof Ferguson, Regius Professor of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee, said he was “thrilled” to receive a knighthood.

The academic is one of the UK’s most eminent life scientists and helped build the university’s Drug Discovery Unit.

It has attracted more than £75m of investment and works with international health agencies and pharmaceutical companies to combat diseases such as tuberculosis.

The unit is also developing an anti-malarial drug now in human trials.

Prof Ferguson said: “Together, we have managed to build in Dundee a truly world-class environment for science, and I feel very privileged to have been able to contribute to that.”

Jazz saxophonist, composer and educator Thomas “Tommy” Smith has become an OBE.

And Connor Roe, who was involved in rescuing 12 Thai boys and their football coach from a flooded cave, is honoured for services to cave diving overseas.

Lance Corporal Roe, from 21 Signal Regiment, was educated in Scotland and becomes an MBE in the diplomatic service and overseas list.

Scots from a range of fields are also recognised, with the list including a beekeeper and a former postwoman.

Ex-head teacher Elaine Wyllie is made an MBE for services to the fitness of children.

She founded the Daily Mile in 2012 when she was head teacher of St Ninian’s Primary School in Stirling.

Ms Wyllie came up with the idea of getting children out of the classroom for 15 minutes every day to walk or jog at their own pace.

The initiative has now spread to more than 6,600 schools in 55 countries.

Charlie Irwin, who has been involved with the Glasgow and District Beekeepers’ Association, is made an MBE for services to beekeeping and the community in Glasgow.

Prof Colin Moffat, from Cove Bay, Aberdeen, has been given a British Empire Medal for voluntary service to the Red Cross in northern Scotland.

He began volunteering with the charity in 1978 after successfully completing a first aid course for his Duke of Edinburgh Award.

There is also a British Empire medal for Moira Forbes Welsh, formerly a postwoman in Balquhidder Glen, who is recognised for services to the community.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “I’m delighted and very proud that Scots who have made an immense contribution in such a diverse range of fields have been honoured.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Queen’s New Year Honours list highlights the exceptional achievements of Scots whose outstanding service and dedication has made a lasting contribution to their communities.”

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