Scots Covid heroes named in New Year Honours list

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image captionAirline pilot Emma Henderson is one of many Scots recognised after exceptional public service during the Covid outbreak

Scots who went the extra mile during the coronavirus pandemic have been recognised in the New Year Honours list.

The list, that rewards public service during 2020, names volunteers, scientists and politicians.

Long-serving former Labour MP Tom Clarke is one of two Scots to be awarded a knighthood.

He joins Stirling University's vice chancellor, Prof Francis Gerard McCormac in receiving the title.

image captionLabour MP Tom Clarke will become Sir Tom for a lifetime of dedication to politics

The former Coatbridge MP, who was appointed film and tourism minister in Tony Blair's first cabinet, served in the UK Parliament between 1982 and 2015.

He has been made a knight for his public and political service, while Prof McCormac received his knighthood for services to education and the economy.

image copyrightUniversity of Stirling
image captionProf Francis Gerard McCormac has been given a knighthood for work in education and the economy

The list includes dozens of people who volunteered during the coronavirus pandemic, including individuals who found new ways to reach vulnerable people, and providers of practical and emotional support to NHS staff and infected patients.

Jamie Kinlochan began preparing for a lockdown weeks before it was announced by the prime minister in March.

The 35-year-old from Paisley is being awarded a BEM (British Empire Medal) for his work with Who Cares Scotland? in which he set up a helpline for vulnerable people who could not get access to the support they needed.

It saw about £150,000 given to needy people through cash and supplies between March and July.

Mr Kinlochan said: "For me, this is really important and it feels really validating.

"I just had an idea but it took a massive team of people to get it off the ground."

'Tea and empathy'

Airline pilot Emma Henderson is being made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for her support for the wellbeing of NHS staff.

The 47-year-old captain from Kinloss, Moray, founded Project Wingman in March initially as a way to offer "tea and empathy" to medics.

She galvanised her industry to facilitate wellbeing lounges in hospitals across the UK.

Since the first lounge at the Whittington Hospital in April, there are now facilities at more than 80 hospitals nationwide - with support from 5,500 volunteers.

Captain Henderson said: "I'm completely overwhelmed, frankly.

"I burst into tears when I found out - it's an amazing thing to be receiving and I feel so grateful for it.

"It's down to the hard work of volunteers, so I hope this reflects on them as well."

image captionCharandeep Singh is the founder of Scotland's Sikh Food Bank which has helped communities during the pandemic

Charandeep Singh, co-founder of the Sikh Food Bank has been awarded the BEM for services to charity during the Covid-19 response. With an amazing team of volunteers, the charity delivered more than 100,000 meals to families in need in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Over the past decade, Charandeep has been involved in numerous youth and community charities, fundraising thousands of pounds, and served as general secretary of the award-winning Glasgow Gurdwara. He currently serves as executive director of the national body, Sikhs in Scotland.

image copyrightRed Cross
image captionNicola Stove and Richard Stibbles receive the BEM for helping the community during the pandemic

Nicola Stove receives the BEM for services to remote communities of northern Scotland during Covid-19.

The 42-year-old British Red Cross manager from Lerwick, Shetland, helped provide food parcels, medication and financial aid - even sourcing a fridge for a vulnerable couple.

She also co-ordinated welfare visits, patient transport and PPE distribution, as well as assisting several councils and foodbanks.

Ms Stove said: "The impact this pandemic has had on people's entire lives has been massive.

"Being able to support them in any way we can has been a real experience.

"We wouldn't have been able to do it without our amazing volunteers and amazing team."

The honours system

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Commonly awarded ranks:

  • Companion of honour - Limited to 65 people. Recipients wear the initials CH after their name
  • Knight or Dame
  • CBE - Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  • OBE - Officer of the Order of the British Empire
  • MBE - Member of the Order of the British Empire
  • BEM - British Empire Medal
  • Guide to the honours

Her fellow Red Cross worker Richard Stibbles also receives the BEM after selflessly volunteering to do three deployments in London, working 10-hour days in full PPE transporting patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 to hospital and other patients to care homes or to their families.

After 30 years of volunteering, Richard was humbled to receive an award.

He said: "Getting this award though makes me realise that my efforts were appreciated and that I did help to make a difference."

image captionFormer auditor general Caroline Gardner is made a CBE

Scotland's former auditor general, Caroline Gardner, has been made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for her services to the Scottish public sector.

After stepping down from the role earlier this year, Ms Gardner was appointed to an advisory panel by the Scottish government to examine and set out options for the creation of a National Care Service.

Prof Sheila Rowan, director of the Institute for Gravitational Research at the University of Glasgow and chief scientific adviser for Scotland, has also been made a CBE for services to science.

Prof Rowan's research helped first identify gravitational waves by developing optical materials for use in detectors.

image captionProf Sheila Rowan is made a CBE for services to science

Her recent work has been a "crucial part" of the Advanced Laser Interferometry Gravitational-wave Observatory (Ligo) upgrades, carried out between 2010 and 2015, that contributed to one of the "most significant scientific breakthroughs of this century", the first detection of gravitational waves announced in February 2016.

Prof Rowan said: "I'm surprised but delighted. During my career I've been lucky enough to work with hugely talented people, in the UK and from around the world."

'Dedication, compassion and kindness'

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack congratulated all the winners. He said: "The Honours list demonstrates the wealth of talent and commitment in Scotland's science, education, sport and public life. We should all be proud of our country's outstanding achievements in these fields.

"Her Majesty has also recognised the dedication, compassion and kindness of so many ordinary people up and down the UK. As we all know too well, 2020 has been a year like no other. So many Scots have gone above and beyond in supporting friends, neighbours and their wider community during the pandemic.

"These are not people who seek the limelight, so I'm very glad that so many of those local heroes have been recognised by Her Majesty."

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