Edinburgh’s Hot 40 2015 is revealed

Our annual Hot 40 list is revealed today.
Our annual Hot 40 list is revealed today.
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TODAY we reveal our annual Hot 40 – the people who have made the biggest impact on the Capital in 2015.

The list – which includes entries from business, sport, politics, charities, health and entertainment – highlights many deserving names who have put Edinburgh in the spotlight this year.

The arguments will continue over some of the entries but, above all, the countdown is a bit of fun and not comprehensive or scientific.

So what do you think? Who should have made the Hot 40 and who should have been left out in the cold? Get in touch and let us know.

1 Jak Trueman

Jak, from West Calder, touched the nation’s heart in 2015 raising £50,000 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research in the final week of his life before dying of a rare form of blood cancer (T-Cell Lymphoma) at the tender age of 15 in February this year.

The inspirational teenager had been documenting his life and treatment on social media for the previous six months.

Brave Jak wasn’t going to let his cancer stop him from taking his girlfriend to the high school prom, however, and even arranged for flowers to be sent to her, his mum and his grandmother following his passing.

Always smiling, the football-daft, tuba-playing Jak truly deserves to be No.1 on this year’s Hot 40 list.

His plight touched many, including the footballers at his beloved Rangers, who took part in a charity game in his honour.

He was visited in hospital by players from Celtic and Hearts, with goalkeeper Neil Alexander becoming a close friend, reading a poem at the funeral and agreeing to be patron of the charity Team Jak, a charity set up in his name by his family to help create retreats for children whose lives are affected by cancer

To date, Team Jak has raised nearly £130,000 and his legacy lives on as Jak’s Den, the first cancer patient centre, opened at Geddes House in Kirkton North, Livingston earlier this month.

Boasting a media room – packed with large-screen TVs and consoles, soft play, arts and crafts activities and a smart board – the facility is a fitting tribute to the tragic teenager who continues to inspire even in death.

2 The Bay City Rollers

It’s like the band who made tartan trendy and sang Shang-a-Lang have never been away, with Rollermania in full swing again, as evidenced at their homecoming gig at the Usher Hall.

3 Kezia Dugdale

Made leader of the Scottish Labour Party at 34, she caused a stir when she refused to back Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Raised eyebrows when she suggested the House of Lords be abolished and replaced with an elected second chamber in Glasgow.

4 Madge Elliot

A passionate, lifelong supporter of the Borders Railway, the 87-year-old’s relentless campaigning to reinstate the Edinburgh-to-Tweedbank service was finally rewarded this year when it was restored. Aptly, the Hawick heroine became one of the first passengers to travel on the restored service since the line’s closure in 1969, and was honoured at a locomotive naming ceremony in Waverley Station. A nice touch.

5 Josh Littlejohn

The recent visit of George Clooney to his Rose Street sandwich shop, Social Bite (where all profits go to good causes, and where one in four employees are former homeless people), was a massive boost to the business’ ethical profile. An entrepreneur who went from cooking up schemes to benefiting society, when it comes to ethics, Josh Littlejohn deserves much credit. The 26-year-old owns Rose Street sandwich shop Social Bite (where all profits go to good causes, and where one in four employees are former homeless people), and takes a salary capped at seven times the wage of the lowest-paid employee. The highlight of Littlejohn’s year: the recent visit of Hollywood superstar George Clooney to his Rose Street shop - a major boost to the business’ ethical profile.

6 Fergus Linehan

The 45-year-old Irishman looks like bringing a bit of rock ‘n’ roll to his role as the new Edinburgh International Festival director. Having worked at the Sydney Opera House, he brought the EIF in line with the Fringe, and is keen to see Leith more involved. He brought the Edinburgh International Festival in line with the Fringe, enjoys a game of five-a-sides, and is keen to put cutting-edge bands on alongside the very best in classical music. Meet Fergus Linehan, the 45-year-old Irishman who looks like bringing a bit of rock ‘n’ roll to his role as the new EIF director. Having worked previously at the Sydney Opera House, Linehan met his wife in Edinburgh, got married at Rosslyn Chapel, and is keen to see Leith more involved in the EIF. Here’s hoping.

7 Lynne McNicoll

McNicoll has raised over £800,000 since founding her charity, It’s Good 2 Give, in 2010. Awarded an OBE for her work, the 58-year-old was sadly diagnosed with breast cancer at the beginning of the year. We wish her a speedy recovery.

8 Joanna McCall

Joanna McCall set up Refugee Action Scotland with a team of volunteers in response to the growing global refugee crisis and they fundraise and collect donations to bring to refugees in crisis locally and across the globe.

9 Jamie Coleman

As managing director of Codebase, Coleman has seen the company grow to become the UK’s largest tech incubator, housing 62 companies that employ 400 staff. Not bad for a former librarian who wanted to be a professional boxer.

10 Sir Tom Farmer

Earlier this month Sir Tom was announced as the recipient of this year’s Edinburgh Award. The 75-year-old Leith-born businessman, who is a majority shareholder of Hibs, was selected for his charitable work and achievements in business.

11 Ann Budge

The Hearts club owner brokered a deal to have Save The Children on jerseys instead of a commercial sponsor and opened a memorial garden at Tynecastle. Most significantly, announced plans to keep Hearts at their spiritual home and build a new main stand.

12 Gordon Aikman

The director of research for the Better Together campaign was awarded an honorary doctorate by Edinburgh University this year, and received a British Empire Medal for his motor neurone disease campaigning.

13 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne

The talented scrum-half helped Edinburgh Rugby reach the European Challenge Cup final before being named Guinness PRO12 Young Player of the Year. His success exemplifies the importance of developing strong community roots.

14 Lesley Hinds

The debate over extending the Capital’s trams is still very much alive, but what cannot be questioned is the success of the existing line under the city trasport leader and her staff which has attracted nearly five million passengers this year...

15 Tommy Sheppard

In the space of a year or so, the affable Northern Irishman has gone from running The Stand Comedy Club in York Place to standing inside the House of Commons as an SNP MP for Edinburgh East. Yes, it’s a funny old game. Rock on, Tommy!

16 Emma Sutherland

Having used her own experiences as background for Eek! My Mummy Has Breast Cancer, the first book of its kind aimed at helping children like her cope with finding out a parent has cancer, 15-year-old Emma is now writing a second book.

17 Sir Chris Hoy

Following his retirement from professional cycling in 2013, six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris swapped his bike for a car and went on to win a prestigious European Le Mans Series title. He’s just very fast, whether on two wheels or four.

18 Jamie Skinner campaigners

After teaming up with us for our Shockingly Easy campaign in a bid to install a life-saving defibrillator in every Lothian sports centre, the foundation raised over £36,000 and won the Community First Aid Champion award.

19 Ian Rankin

There’s seldom a year in which the Edinburgh crime writer doesn’t top the bestseller charts, and he repeated the trick in 2015 with Even Dogs In The Wild, which saw his boozed-up, cantankerous cop DI John Rebus dragged out of retirement again, much to the delight of his fans.

20 Leeann Dempster

Hibs’ chief executive has renewed the club’s vision since taking the reins in 2014. The 44-year-old arrived at time when the club was at war with itself, and turned Hibs into a competitive, sustainable business challenging for top-flight promotion.

21 Laura O’Neill

This year the former lawyer opened Maison de Moggy, Edinburgh’s first and only cat cafe. So successful was the venture, the cafe moved to a permanent new home in the Grassmarket just five months after launching in Stockbridge. Just purr-fect!

22 Robbie Neilson

Won the Scottish Championship title in his first season as head coach of Hearts. Currently has them challenging for Europe back in the Premiership. Still only 35, he has the potential to go on and enjoy a long career in management.

23 John Maclean

Once a member of cult pop heroes The Beta Band, Maclean re-emerged this year as a filmmaker and went on to win awards and rave reviews aplenty for his debut offering, Slow West, which stars highly-acclaimed actor Michael Fassbender.

24 JK Rowling

The Harry Potter creator was named Scotland’s most influential author on Twitter. Rowling has 5.8 million followers, but that’s sure to swell when her screenwriting debut, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, opens in cinemas next year.

25 Bruce Findlay

After a career spanning five decades, the former Simple Minds manager was honoured with an Outstanding Contribution to Music Award in 2015. No-one is a bigger champion of the Capital’s music scene – and no-one has as much to say about it as Brucey.

26 Rebecca Dalgleish

The inspiring teenager was diagnosed with terminal nerve sheath cancer in January and devoted her remaining 11 months of life to raising over £60,000 for the children’s hospice which helped her. Rebecca died earlier this month aged just 18.

27 Ian Murray

Returned from the election battlefield with a unique but unwanted distinction – as the sole surviving Scottish Labour MP on the SNP’s night of triumph in May. Murray had built his profile in the Capital by fronting up the Foundation of Hearts group.

28 Josh Taylor

Since switching to the paid ranks in June, the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist has enjoyed a hat-trick of victories, including the 45-second demolition of Romanian Daniel Cosmin Minescu in Belfast last month. Taylor-made for success.

29 Caitlyn Vanbeck

The last remaining Scot in the competition may have failed to get through to the Judges’ House stage of X Factor, but we’ll be hearing a lot more about Caitlyn, who won the Evening News’ Edinburgh’s Got Talent contest when she was 13.

30 Martin Perry

After years of living in Glasgow’s shopping shadow, Edinburgh is set to move in to the top league thanks to the £850 million St James development, masterminded by TH Real Estate’s director of development.

31 Elise Christie

The Livingston speed skater became the first Briton to win two medals at the World Short Track Championships, and at the 2015 European Championships in Dordrecht she claimed her first overall European title after winning gold in the 500m and 1500m.

32 Mark Williams

One thing’s for sure, he will be a hard act to follow after leaving his police chief post. Williams successfully steered the Capital’s thin blue line through the first years of Police Scotland while having to deal with the so-called “Glasgowfication” of priorities in the Capital from above which has seen controversial raids on the city’s saunas, increasing use of stop and search, and successful housebreaking teams being disbanded. He also worked hard to engage with the community, including through a column in this newspaper.

33 Kath Mainland

Before stepping down from her role as chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, she oversaw a huge expansion of the Fringe following 2008’s box office system disaster, selling a record 2.3 million tickets this year. Awarded a CBE for her efforts.

34 Gordon Dewar

Edinburgh Airport’s chief executive picked up the top award for the over £35m turnover category at the Institute of Directors Scotland awards. Under Dewar, Edinburgh Airport has expanded and become the busiest in Scotland.

35 Gary Anderson

Having honed his skills in a Musselburgh social club “The Flying Scotsman” defeated 16-time world darts champion Phil Taylor in the final of the PDC World Championship at London’s Alexandra Palace in January, walking away with a cool £250,000.

36 Amy Hardie

Edinburgh-based filmmaker Amy Hardie spent three years working with patients at Strathcarron Hospice, in Stirlingshire, on the film Seven Songs For A Long Life, which was praised by critics and moviegoers alike on its release in October

37 Cameron Rose

The Conservative group leader on the city council has been very effective in holding the administration to account, especially over the ‘dirty tricks’ scandal at Cameron House community centre. Much more will surely follow on this in 2016.

38 Robert McCulloch

The senior engineer spotted the 20mm crack in a truss under the southbound carriageway of the Forth Road Bridge, thus preventing a potentially longer closure of the crossing, and was thanked by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

39 Wojtek the Bear

Wojtek’s contribution to the war effort was commemorated with the unveiling of a memorial statue in Princes Street Gardens. The bear is said to have drank beer with Polish soldiers and helped carry ammo before ending his days at Edinburgh Zoo.

40 Leon Smith

OK, so Andy Murray got the plaudits after finishing the job, but Craiglockhart-based Leon Smith was more than just a bit-part player in his role as captain of Britain’s victorious Davis Cup team, which also included Murray’s brother, Jamie.