Queen’s New Year’s Honours: Lothian’s unsung heroes praised

Joseph Wood has been awarded an MBE for his years of dedication as an international family-tracing volunteer with the Red Cross. Picture: Greg Macvean
Joseph Wood has been awarded an MBE for his years of dedication as an international family-tracing volunteer with the Red Cross. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A RED Cross worker, a health adviser to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Scottish Parliament’s chief executive are among Lothian figureheads to be honoured in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.

Charity stalwarts, scientists and community activists, all feature in a list of those recognised for life-long contributions to communities.

Dr Colin Currie will be awarded an MBE for his work on the National Hip Fracture Database.

Dr Colin Currie will be awarded an MBE for his work on the National Hip Fracture Database.

Robotics pioneer David Michael Lane, professor of autonomous systems engineering at Heriot-Watt University, is to receive a CBE for his work in developing technologies capable of operating with minimal human intervention.

And Roslin-based Yvonne Janet Anderson, vice-chair of Special Olympics Scotland, which provided annual sports training and competition for those with learning disabilities, will get an MBE.

A string of unsung heroes across Edinburgh and the Lothians are also in line for a British Empire Medal (BEM) for selfless charity and volunteer work.

COMMENT: They deserve a toast for their service

It’s nice to be recognised for that work, to know that we are making a difference.

Joseph Wood

Among those set to be honoured is Joseph Wood, 76, from Davidson’s Mains, who is being handed an MBE for his years of dedication as an international family-tracing volunteer with the Red Cross.

Paying tribute to his late wife, Cynthia, who inspired him to re-unite relatives, Mr Wood said: “She was researching her own family history and the manager who was dealing with the tracing service at the Red Cross realised that my wife was interested in researching family histories.

“She asked my wife if she would do it for them. Then I joined her and we worked as a team doing it. She passed away around two years ago and I’ve continued it. It must be coming up for around 15 or 16 years.”

Mr Wood – a Red Cross volunteer for almost 60 years – said the tracing service often assisted in finding relatives who were ­separated and moved to different countries during the Second World War, as well as those affected by more recent crises and conflicts.

Author and illustrator Vivian French says she almost turned down her MBE. Picture: Neil Hanna

Author and illustrator Vivian French says she almost turned down her MBE. Picture: Neil Hanna

While careful to respect confidentiality agreements, he said he was particularly proud of his part in bringing together two brothers who were split up on their way to the UK. “They were separated on their way from their home countries,” he added.

“One was in Glasgow, one was in Edinburgh and we were able to re-unite them in Edinburgh. It’s nice to be recognised for that work, to know that we are making a difference.”

Dr Colin Currie, 70, from Merchiston, will be honoured with an MBE for his work with the National Hip Fracture Database (NHFD).

The service has led to mortality-reducing improvements in care for patients in hospitals across the UK.

He is one of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s closest friends and – due to their intellectual jousting and shared love of history – he became a trusted sounding-board for draft speeches, articles and books, particularly on the issue of Britishness.

Now a consultant geriatrician in Edinburgh, he, alongside Lord Ara Dhazi, played a major role in providing Mr Brown with insights into the reality of work in the NHS.

Dr Currie – who worked with the NHFD between 2004 and 2013 – said: “Hip fracture had been a much neglected injury but it’s hugely important to the people it happens to.

“The NHFD is a brilliant group. Its members have worked really hard to get hip fracture way up the agenda.

“They created a critical mass of enthusiasm and expertise in hip fracture care.

“They delivered an audit of care, made everybody keen about hip fractures and then externally evaluated the audit with the remarkable achievement of reducing mortality from hip fractures at 30 days, 90 days and a year after injury.”

Children’s author ­Vivian French controversially almost refused her MBE.

“It’s a bit Establishment and I’ve never thought of myself being that,” she said. “But in the letter they sent me, I liked that it was for ‘literature, literacy, illustration and the arts’.

“If it had just been for literature, I might have turned it down. Writers write, that’s what they do and you just get on with it rather than getting commendations.”

Ms French, who lives in Morningside, has written over 250 books since she started in 1990, but she is also a tutor in the illustration department at Edinburgh College of Art and is co-founder of Picture Hooks, a mentoring scheme for young professional illustrators.

She said: “I dithered about it for quite a while, but then I thought it was a really generous thing to be offered and it might help with my mission.”

The task she has set herself is to spread the word about the importance of illustration. She says the illustrations in children’s books are just as important as the words, if not more so.

“That saying about not judging a book by its cover is rubbish – people judge books by their cover all the time,” she added.

“Reading can be a huge hurdle for children to overcome, but if there are pictures it makes it more accessible.”

Paul Edward Grice, the Scottish Parliament’s clerk and chief executive, is to collect a knighthood.

Born in York, he joined the Civil Service through its graduate fast-stream programme in 1985. Mr Grice held various posts in the departments of transport, environment and the Scottish Office before being appointed to his current post in 1999.

He said: “I am very pleased to receive this honour. More than anything, it reflects the achievements of the Scottish Parliamentary Service. I hope it also underlines the important contribution which universities and research make to society.”

Professor Joanna Marguerite Wardlaw said she was “surprised but delighted” to receive a CBE for her groundbreaking work which uses brain scanning to treat strokes.

The 57-year-old completed her medical training at Edinburgh University and has worked in the Capital for many years as professor of applied neuroimaging at the university and honorary consultant neuroradiologist at NHS Lothian.

She set up the Brain Research Imaging Centre in Edinburgh in 1997 and established a Scotland-wide imaging research network.

Prof Wardlaw, of Orchard Brae, said: “I was extremely surprised but I am delighted to have been put forward as I think it is a good sign for other women working in science.

“I also think it is important for the field of imaging to be recognised as an important research tool. Imaging is so widely used now.

“It has had a big impact on things like stroke and dementia, which are both big social problems.

Full list of Lothian winners

KNIGHTS BACHELOR

• Paul Edward Grice. Clerk and chief executive Scottish Parliament. For services to the Scottish Parliament and voluntary service to Higher Education and the community in Scotland. (Edinburgh)

CBE

• Professor Steven Kenneth Chapman. Formerly Principal and vice-Chancellor Heriot-Watt University. For services to Higher Education. (Edinburgh)

• Professor David Michael Lane. Professor of Autonomous Systems Engineering Heriot Watt University and Founding director, Edinburgh Centre for Robotics. For services to Engineering. (Edinburgh)

• Professor Cait MacPhee. Professor of Biological Physics University of Edinburgh. For services to Women in Physics.

• Mark McInnes (pictured). Director Scottish Conservatives. For political service. (Edinburgh)

• Professor Joanna Marguerite Wardlaw, FRSE. Professor of Applied Neuroimaging and Honorary consultant Neuroradiologist, University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian. For services to Neuroimaging and Clinical Science. (Edinburgh)

OBE

• Alistair Colvin Campbell. Director Bellair (Scotland) Ltd. For services to the Economy and Town Centre Regeneration. (Muirhouses, West Lothian)

• Professor William Donachie. For services to Animal and Veterinary Biosciences. (East Calder, West Lothian)

• Professor Susan McVie, FRSE. Professor of Quantitative Criminology, University of Edinburgh and director, Applied Quantitative Methods Network in Scotland. For services to Social Sciences. (Edinburgh)

• Ms Jane Thursa Sanderson. Chief executive Drake Music Scotland. For services to Music Education and People with Disabilities. (Kirkliston)

• Professor William Scott. Formerly chief Pharmaceutical Officer Scottish Government. For services to Healthcare. (Gorebridge, Midlothian)

• Professor David Sigsworth. Formerly chairman Scottish Environment Protection Agency. For services to the Environment and Sustainable Futures. (South Queensferry)

MBE

• Mrs Yvonne Janet Anderson. Vice-Chair, Special Olympics Scotland. For services to the Special Olympics. (Roslin, Midlothian)

• Mrs Kathleen Elizabeth Crawford. Formerly Section Leader, Scottish Schools Education Research Centre, Dunfermline. For services to Education. (Balerno)

• Dr Colin Currie, RD. For services to the Management of Hip Fractures in Older People. (Edinburgh)

• Ms Vivian June Isoult French. Author. For services to Literature Literacy, Illustration and the Arts. (Edinburgh)

• Mrs Wilma Carol Grant Harper. Director, Corporate and Forestry Support Division, Forestry Commission. For public and voluntary services to the Forestry Sector. (Edinburgh)

• Mrs Sheila Somerville. Honorary secretary, Edinburgh Samaritan Society. For services to Patients and their Families in Edinburgh. (Edinburgh)

• Mrs Diane Elaine Watt. Chair, Area Support Team for Mid and East Lothian and the Scottish Borders. For services to the Children’s Hearings System in Scotland. (Dunbar, East Lothian)

• Ms Jeanette Ross Wilson. Policy director for Scotland The British Holiday and Home Parks Association. For services to the Holiday Parks Industry. (Edinburgh)

• Joseph Wood. International Family Tracing Volunteer. For voluntary service to the British Red Cross. (Edinburgh)

• Mrs Laura Naomi Young. Co-Founder, The Teapot Trust. For services to Chronically Ill Children in Scotland. (East Lothian)

BEM

• Mrs Christine McDiarmid Black. Badminton Development Officer, East Lothian Council. For services to Badminton in Scotland. (Edinburgh)

• Richard Hadden. Beadle St Michael’s Church, Inveresk. For services to the community in East Lothian. (Musselburgh, East Lothian)

• Mrs Lynda Jeffrey. Founder, Stenton Singers Choir. For services to Music and charity in Stenton, East Lothian. (Stenton, East Lothian)

• Mrs Christian Evelyn Lindsay. For services to the community in East Linton, East Lothian. (Haddington, East Lothian)

• William Scott. Founder and Artistic director Miracle Theatre Company. For services to the Arts in Cornwall. (Gorebridge, Midlothian)