By Bill Heaney
Scottish Labour’s Jackie Baillie, the MSP for Dumbarton constituency for 24 years, has become the first sitting MSP to be given a damehood or knighthood.
The party’s deputy leader and health spokesperson received the honour for political and public service in the King’s first Birthday Honours.
Dame Jackie said the damehood, the female equivalent of a knighthood, was “totally unexpected”.
Sporting and cultural figures were also included in the list, including Scotland and Rangers player John Greig, pictured right, who has been made a CBE.
Dame Jackie received the honour for political and public service. The MSP who has represented Dumbarton since the Scottish Parliament was created in 1999, became deputy leader of the party in 2020.
She said the honour was “totally unexpected”, with news of its award “coming as quite a shock”.
“I understand I was nominated by constituents, and when you have represented people for 24 years this is such a humbling experience,” she said.
“And so I was delighted to accept on that basis.”
Helensburgh’s wheelchair tennis star and Paralympic gold medal winner Gordon Reid, former world no 1 for singles and doubles, becomes an OBE for services to tennis.
Another of my favourite women in public life, BBC Scotland’s Reporting Scotland presenter Sally Magnusson is made an MBE for services to people with dementia and their carers.
She founded the charity Playlist for Life in 2013 after observing the effect of music on her mother’s dementia. It works with families and care homes to encourage people to develop a playlist of personally meaningful music for those with dementia.
She said: “It’s lovely to receive this award, not least because it recognises the importance of personally meaningful music to the well-being of people with dementia.
“Both my book, Where Memories Go, and the music and dementia charity I founded 10 years ago, Playlist for Life, are about helping families and individuals to find – and appreciate – periods of joy amid the devastation of this all-too-common illness.”
She added: “I hope my song-loving mother, Mamie, whose own years with dementia inspired it all, would be proud.”
An NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde consultant has been made Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the King’s Birthday Honours list.
Professor Tom Evans, pictured right, of the University of Glasgow who carries out his clinical work at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH), has been honoured for his work during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The CBE is the highest-ranking of the orders of the British Empire other than a knighthood or damehood and Cambridge University graduate Tom has been given it for services to healthcare during the pandemic.
Tom, 63, a specialist in infectious diseases and acute general medicine who has been with NHSGGC since November 2003, said: “I have to say it was something of a surprise – but I’m delighted as it highlights the work that was done across Scotland and at the QEUH during Covid.”
When the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020, Tom and his colleagues were already aware of a novel virus in the Wuhan region of China.
He said: “We were watching the spread through China and then Europe, particularly Italy.
“The first patients we saw were mostly returning travellers, young, healthy skiers, but that changed quite quickly, and it wasn’t long before the receiving unit at the QEUH was given over to Covid patients who were much more ill.
“The first wave in April 2020 has made a lasting impact on every one of us who worked through it.”
Tom chaired the Scottish Government Clinical Cell for Covid-19, working with colleagues in major centres across Scotland to help formulate Health Improvement Scotland’s Covid-19 Rapid Response guidelines.
He was also a member of the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Advisory Group throughout the pandemic.
Tom added: “The team at the QEUH were magnificent throughout the pandemic. Colleagues from every specialty worked tirelessly with each other to deal with patients suffering from Covid.
“We went through the first wave, and then within the year the vaccine was produced which thankfully made a huge difference.
“While Covid is still quite prevalent in the community, we are on the other side now, and the impact of Covid is much less and while it is not going away and is something that we will have to live with, we are much better prepared for dealing with it.”
Others working for health charities also received honours, including the founder of Cancer Card which supports cancer patients, who has been awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Jen Hardy, who has stage four cancer said she wanted to help cancer patients in Scotland avoid the challenges she had faced, and said: “Receiving this award is more than I could have ever dreamed of. It consolidates the importance and purpose of what we do everyday,” she said.