Doddie Weir and Ann Gloag recognised in New Year Honours

Rugby legend Doddie Weir and violinist Nicola Benedetti are among the Scots recognised in the New Year Honours List.

There are also honours for businesswoman and philanthropist Ann Gloag and Louise Martin, president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, who are both made dames.

Weir, 48, began his rugby career at Melrose RFC before going on to play for Scotland and the Newcastle Falcons.

He announced in 2017 that he had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) and went on to found the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

Nicola Benedetti
Violinist Nicola Benedetti has been made a CBE (Chris Radburn/PA)

He is being made an OBE for services to rugby, to MND research and to the community in the Scottish Borders.

He said: “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 sees 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.”

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.”

Bank sets up entrepreneurs’ centre
Ann Gloag has been made a dame (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Ms Martin is made a dame for services to sport.

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.

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.

She founded the Daily Mile in 2012 when she was headteacher of St Ninian’s Primary School in Stirling, coming up with the idea of getting children out of the classroom for 15 minutes every day to walk or jog at their own pace.

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.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Queen’s New Year Honours List highlights the exceptional achievements of Scots whose outstanding service and dedication has made a lasting contribution to their communities.

“Recipients’ interests range from arts and education to business, medicine and science and includes those who have again excelled while promoting our country on the world’s sporting stage.

“This year it is also fitting that a number of people who have done so much to help mark the centenary of World War One have been honoured.

“I also want to extend my congratulations to emergency service personnel who have been awarded the Queen’s fire, police or ambulance service medals. Our emergency services deserve our continued gratitude for helping to keep people and communities across Scotland safe, every day of the year.”

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