During this month of May, the city council will be seeking nominations for the Edinburgh Award. Established in 2007, it was designed to recognise and celebrate an Edinburgh citizen “who has made a positive impact on the city and gained international recognition for Edinburgh”.
The list of previous recipients makes impressive reading to say the least including: Professor Peter Higgs, a theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize winner, who discovered the existence of a particle now known as the Higgs boson and who was presented with the award in 2011; JK Rowling OBE of Harry Potter fame; Sir Chris Hoy, a multiple Olympic gold medal winner; Ian Rankin OBE, the author of the Rebus crime series; George Kerr CBE, who has won many awards for his services to judo; and Ken Buchanan MBE, the former world boxing champion.
The winner of the award has their hand prints reproduced on a flagstone in the City Chambers quadrangle, as well as receiving an engraved loving cup (quaich) from the Lord Provost at a ceremony held to mark the occasion.
It provides an opportunity for friends and family as well as others to demonstrate how much the winner means to them and it also allows the city, through council, to officially recognise all that the recipient has done and the positive impact they have had on Edinburgh’s reputation and standing throughout the world.
A nominated individual has to have been born in Edinburgh or lived in the city for the past 12 months, cannot have previously won the award and may not have already been awarded the Freedom of the City. They also cannot be a serving politician!
I spoke to the Lord Provost, Frank Ross, a couple of days ago and he feels that there will be a strong list of contenders this year and hopes that more women will feature among the nominees as only two women have won the award since its inception.
He contends that there are many women role models, particularly in the fields of science and engineering, who may not have received the recognition they justly deserve and he is anticipating an increased number of female nominees this year.
I have been honoured to attend all of the award ceremonies over the years and have been hugely impressed by the calibre of the winners, all of whom have played their part in promoting our wonderful city to the world.
I am sure that this year will prove to be no exception and that the Lord Provost will be presenting a quaich later this year to another outstanding winner!