Doddie joins the stars in New Year’s Honours list

Charity legend Doddie Weir  is made an OBE. Picture: contributed
Charity legend Doddie Weir is made an OBE. Picture: contributed
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In a year that has seem him launch a new charity, write a book and gain the recognition of the city, rugby legend Doddie Weir has now been honoured with an OBE .

The much-loved Edinburgh-born lock began his long and successful career at Melrose RFC before going on to win the Premiership with the Newcastle Falcons in 1997-98 and earning 61 Scotland caps.

Elaine Wyllie, right, founder of the 'daily mile for children, is made an MBE. Picture: contributed

Elaine Wyllie, right, founder of the 'daily mile for children, is made an MBE. Picture: contributed

In June 2017, Doddie announced that he had motor neurone disease and spoke out about his diagnosis on Twitter in order to promote Global MND Awareness Day.

Since then he set up a My Name’5 Doddie Foundation to raise funds for research into a cure for MND and to provide grants to people living with the condition.

The Stewart’s Melville College FP has been made an OBE for services to rugby, to MND research and to the community in the Scottish Borders.

Doddie said the support he had received since sharing his diagnosis had been “incredible”.

I am humbled and honoured to be recognised in this way.

DODDIE WEIR

He added: “I am humbled and honoured to be recognised in this way.

“To be awarded the OBE for services to rugby, research into MND and the Borders community is particularly special as all three are close to my heart.

“We – myself, Kathy, Hamish, Angus and Ben and those involved with the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation – have received incredible support from the rugby community and the Borders folk since I shared my diagnosis with everyone in June 2017, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their ongoing kindness and generosity.

“To be included in a list which also see two other Lions lock forwards recognised, namely former captains Bill Beaumont and Willie John McBride, is a great honour and I would like to congratulate them on their awards.”

Some 544 women are recognised in the list, representing 47 per cent of the total, the lowest percentage since 2013.

These include honours for businesswoman and philanthropist Ann Gloag and Louise Martin, president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, who are both made dames as well as an honour for violinist Nicola Benedetti.

Ayrshire-born Benedetti is made a CBE for services to music, while Kate Caithness, from Angus, president of the World Curling Federation, is made a CBE for services to sport.

Ms Gloag, who co-founded the Stagecoach transport empire with her brother Sir Brian Souter, is made a dame for services to business and philanthropy.

In 2008 she founded the Perth-based charity Freedom from Fistula, which provides free maternity care and surgery to women injured in childbirth.

The charity’s three main projects are in Sierra Leone, Malawi and Kenya.

The former nurse, from Perthshire, founded Kenya Children’s Homes in 2002 and is also involved with hospital ship charity Mercy Ships.

Ms Gloag, who was already an OBE, said: “I am humbled and grateful to receive this honour. Never in my wildest dreams, growing up in a council house in Perth, did I think this would ever happen.

“I am pleased the honour mentions my nursing as what I learned as a nurse, dealing with people from all walks of life, helped me succeed in business and has been the cornerstone of my charitable work.”

Ms Martin is made a dame for services to sport.

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The former athlete was chair of Commonwealth Games Scotland from 1999 until 2007 and chair of sportscotland from 2008 to 2015.

She played a key role in bringing the Commonwealth Games to Glasgow and served as vice-chair of the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee.

Meanwhile, there is a knighthood for Professor Michael Ferguson, regius professor of life sciences and academic lead for research strategy at the University of Dundee, who is honoured for services to science.

Connor Roe, who was involved in rescuing 12 Thai boys and their football coach from a flooded cave, is honoured for services to cave diving overseas.

Lance Corporal Roe, from 21 Signal Regiment, was educated in Scotland and he is made an MBE in the diplomatic service and overseas list.

Divers Joshua Bratchley and Vernon Unsworth, the ex-pat suing Tesla entrepreneur Elon Musk for labelling him a “paedo guy”, also get MBEs for their roles in the dramatic cave rescue, which gripped the world during the summer.

Four other British cave divers involved in the operation are also receiving civilian gallantry awards for exceptional bravery protecting others.

Richard Stanton and John Volanthen, the first to reach the 12 stranded children and their team coach, are awarded the George Medal, while Christopher Jewell and Jason Mallinson receive the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.

They are among 12 recipients of bravery awards announced at the same time as the main honours list, including seven firefighters who saved elderly residents from a serious blaze at a care home in a town in Hertfordshire.

Scots from a range of fields are also honoured, with the list including a beekeeper and a former postwoman.

Ex-headteacher Elaine Wyllie is made an MBE for services to the fitness of children after founding the Daily Mile walking project as a headteacher of St Ninian’s Primary School in Stirling. The initiative has now spread to more than 6,600 schools in 55 countries.

Charlie Irwin, who has been involved with the Glasgow and District Beekeepers’ Association, is made an MBE for services to beekeeping and the community in Glasgow.

There is a British Empire medal for Moira Forbes Welsh, formerly postwoman in Balquhidder Glen, who is recognised for services to the community.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “I’m delighted and very proud that Scots who have made an immense contribution in such a diverse range of fields have been honoured.

“They have made an outstanding contribution in a wide range of fields, from charity to business and sport to science, they help our communities thrive and inspire future generations.

“I am pleased we have so many Scots being recognised for their tireless work in their communities. I offer my heartfelt congratulations to all those who have been honoured this year.”

Michael Palin, who gets a knighthood in the Diplomatic Service and Overseas list for his international contributions to travel, culture and geography, said news of the accolade had not sunk in yet.

He said: “I don’t think it will be until I see the envelopes addressing me as Sir Michael Palin. I have been a knight before, in Python films. I have been several knights including Sir Galahad and the knight who said, ‘ni’.”

He added: “I am so very pleased that I was able to sort of morph from being Python and becoming a traveller, or a presenter of travel programmes. That gave me the chance to see an enormous amount of the world.”