Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Hearts owner Ann Budge to receive Edinburgh Award

Ann Budge Image copyright Ron MacNeill
Image caption Ann Budge is the chief executive and chairwoman of Heart of Midlothian FC

Heart of Midlothian FC owner Ann Budge is to receive a prestigious award from her home city.

The businesswoman, who is also the chief executive and chairwoman of the football club, has been named as the 2019 winner of the Edinburgh Award.

City of Edinburgh Council said the honour was in recognition of her business success, community work, and services to sport in the city.

The lord provost will present her with the award later in the year.

The announcement makes Ms Budge the 13th recipient of the award, which began in 2007.

Past winners include the authors Ian Rankin and JK Rowling, cyclist Sir Chris Hoy and theoretical physicist Prof Peter Higgs.

'Special moment'

Ms Budge said: "It's a real honour to be chosen for the Edinburgh Award and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to those who nominated me.

"What makes this award so special is that it's from my city, my home town, and presented on behalf of the citizens of Edinburgh.

"As someone from a working class family from West Pilton, who still cherishes everything about this city, the fans and the incredible people and the charities we work with, to be told I'll soon have my handprints set in stone in the heart of Edinburgh - that's a special moment indeed for me and my family."

The entrepreneur was the first woman appointed to the senior management grade in brewing company Scottish & Newcastle, before co-founding the IT company Newell & Budge, headquartered in the Scottish capital.

She bought Hearts FC out of administration in 2014.

Edinburgh's Lord Provost Frank Ross, said: "Not only has Ann Budge saved one of Edinburgh's main football clubs, giving it a chance to return to the Premiership, but she has drastically transformed Tynecastle into a place where the Gorgie and wider Edinburgh community can unite, learn and spend time together."

He added: "Ann Budge is an inspiring businesswoman, entrepreneur, philanthropist and community champion.

"She is a role model for girls everywhere and for putting fans first in football.

"No matter what colour scarf you wear, I think we can all agree that the Edinburgh Award is the ideal way for our city to recognise all that she has achieved."

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