Cyclist Mark Beaumont wins Great Scot Award in NYC

Mark Beaumont was presented with this year's Great Scot Award in New York
Mark Beaumont was presented with this year's Great Scot Award in New York
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One of Edinburgh’s most celebrated sporting sons was honoured for his achievements at a ceremony in the US earlier this month.

Cyclist Mark Beaumont was presented with the National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA’s Great Scot Award at a glittering ceremony in New York at the foundation’s annual gala. The endurance athlete and philanthropist’s wife and mother were in attendance to watch the record-breaking cyclist collect the honour.

The gala, this year coined A Celebration of Scottish Treasures, drew a host of philanthropists and conservationists to New York’s Metropolitan Club on April 12, who watched as Helen Sayles CBE, chairman of the board of The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA, presented Mark with the award.

The prize is presented annually to a Scot or American who has contributed to the countries’ shared heritage. Past recipients include Sir Billy Connolly, Phyllis Logan and novelist Alexander McCall Smith. Previous Great Scot winners from 2009 and 2010 Alan Cumming and Christopher Forbes were there to celebrate this year’s winners.

As the highlight of the night’s proceedings, the presentation of the Great Scot award is highly anticipated and this year’s recipient was chosen because of his inspirational achievements and “his ability to push the limits of what is possible both physically and mentally”, said Helen Sayles.

As well as his 18,000-mile circumnavigation of the globe last year, Mark is a generous philanthropist who hopes to make the world a better place for all. Accepting his award, Mark thanked the NTS USA for the “wonderful touch” when they surprised him by flying in his mother, Una Beaumont, to the celebrations, sharing that “family has been at the heart of everything I do”.

The broadcaster, adventurer and author also delighted the crowd with tales of his personal and professional trips to North America. On his first visit as an 18-year-old, he told of feeling like a “celebrity for a day in New York” when he stumbled upon the Tartan Day parade and he “nipped back to the hotel to grab my kilt!”.

The feted sportsman first cycled across Scotland at the age of 12 and last year cycled around the world in less than 79 days. He acknowledged his cycling team of 40 for the success of his ‘“the World in 80 Days” challenge and recognised his family and guests in the room for their support because “without their support my achievements would not have been possible”. His speech was greeted with a standing ovation.

Architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh was also honoured at the event, in the year that marks his 150th birthday. An auction to support the maintenance of his famous Hill House raised more than £20,000 on the night.