Capital’s model citizen George lands top honour

George Hunter OBE
George Hunter OBE
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Community stalwart George Hunter OBE has been presented with the prestigious Sir William Y Darling Bequest for Good Citizenship by Lord Provost George Grubb at a ceremony at City Chambers.

The top honour, which is made to a citizen who has done most for the city’s honour and welfare, was given to Mr Hunter yesterday in acknowledgement of his work as chair of the Water of Leith Trust, a position he has held since the charity’s inception in 1988.

Mr Hunter, 85, said: “The trust undertakes around 30 clean-ups each year, which has helped ensure the Water of Leith is cleaner than it has been for some time.

“This requires a lot of hard work and dedication from our staff and more than 100 volunteers.”

The trust works closely with most schools in the Capital and organises daily visits to its Lanark Road premises.

Mr Hunter was nominated for the award by Councillor Gordon Buchan, who said: “I am delighted that George has received this award, which recognises his hard work. He has been an excellent ambassador for the environment in Edinburgh.”

During his time at the helm, Mr Hunter has steered the trust through challenging times, ensuring that it continues to meet its objectives despite facing financial pressures.

He continues to play a significant role, as confirmed by the trust manager, Helen Brown, who said: “George has been a bedrock of the organisation throughout. He comes in every day, and provides ongoing steadfast support and commitment.”

Mr Hunter began his career in public service after the war, during which he was seconded to the Indian army. He worked for 40 years with the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland, playing a lead role as treasurer then secretary in bringing the games to Edinburgh in 1970 and 1986.

He was awarded an OBE in 1980 for services to sport following his involvement with numerous sporting organisations, including the Scottish Amateur Rowing Association.

Ex-Watsons pupil Mr Hunter went into politics in 1992, representing Craiglockhart as a Conservative councillor for 15 years until 2007.

Mr Hunter paid tribute to all those whose hard work has been crucial to the trust’s success, particularly his wife, Eileen, who he described as a “tremendous support throughout the years”.

Lord Provost Grubb said: “I am honoured to be presenting this year’s Sir William Y Darling Award to Mr George Hunter OBE for his inspirational work with the Water of Leith Trust.

“Mr Hunter’s exemplary dedication and commitment has reaped rich rewards. This award is a very fitting was of paying tribute to Mr Hunter for everything he has done through the trust.”

Mr Hunter also plays an active part on the Lothian and Borders Police board.