Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith has received a knighthood in the New Year Honours.
Smith, who has advised the Scottish Government in its public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic, said he was “surprised and honoured” to be knighted.
He was appointed as Scotland’s chief medical officer permanently in December last year, having taken over on an interim basis in April 2020 following the resignation of Catherine Calderwood.
Having previously served as the country’s deputy chief medical officer from 2015, Smith has been present at Covid-19 press briefings throughout the pandemic.
Smith trained as a general practitioner and spent most of his career at a practice in Larkhall, South Lanarkshire.
He went on to be medical director for primary care at NHS Lanarkshire, one of Scotland’s largest health boards.
The knighthood means a “huge amount”, explained Smith, as he said it is a “privilege and a pleasure” to serve as Scotland’s chief medical officer.
“I am surprised and feel honoured to receive a knighthood in The Queen’s New Year Honours list for services to public health,” he said.
“This means a huge amount to me but it is a reflection of the work that a good number of us have undertaken during the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I want to thank everyone who I have worked with, in the Scottish Government and associated organisations, for their contribution to this response.
“It is a privilege and a pleasure to serve as the chief medical officer for Scotland.
“As we face further challenges ahead, I especially want to thank my colleagues across the country for their professionalism, their support and their commitment to caring for the people of Scotland.”
Volunteers and healthcare workers are also among those receiving honours for their work during the pandemic.
They include Joseph Freedman for services to the Jewish community in Glasgow and Dr Adaeze Ifezulike, a GP from Aberdeen for services to health inequality in minority communities in Scotland.
Paul Fairie, the head of operations at Glasgow’s Lighthouse Laboratory which has processed more than 20 million Covid-19 tests joins Freedman and Ifezulike in being made Members of the Order of the British Empire.
Other knighthoods have been awarded to long-serving former Glasgow MP Tommy McAvoy for his political and public service.
Lord McAvoy, who was the MP for Glasgow Rutherglen from 1987 to 2010, spent much of his time at Westminster with roles in the Labour Party’s whips office, serving in both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s governments.
He has been in the House of Lords since 2010 and is currently a senior whip and spokesman for both Scottish and Northern Irish issues.
Former Ayr MSP John Scott is also being made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire after 21 years at Holyrood.
Scott, 70, was first elected as the area’s Conservative MSP in a 2000 byelection, holding the seat in four subsequent elections.
A former farmer, he overcame pancreatic cancer – the same illness that killed his wife just nine months after he was first elected to the Scottish Parliament.
He served in parliament, including a spell as a deputy presiding officer, until May’s Holyrood election when he experienced a 170-vote defeat to the SNP’s Siobhian Brown.
Glasgow-born swimmer Duncan Scott has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire after becoming the first British athlete to win four medals at an Olympic games with a gold and three silvers at Tokyo 2020 this year.
Paralympic gold medallist Owen Miller from Fife has also been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire following his victorious debut in Tokyo in the T20 1500m, for athletes who compete with learning or intellectual impairments.
There is an MBE for Kathleen Dawson from Fife, who swam backstroke as part of the world record-beating mixed 4x100m relay team to win gold for Team GB at the Olympics in July.
Former chairman of St Johnstone, the businessman Geoffrey Brown, who rescued the football club from financial difficulty in 1986 has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to Scottish Football and to the community in Perth.
Dr Liz Cameron, director of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, has been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to the promotion of Scotland and UK international trade.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Queen’s New Year Honours list illustrates the outstanding contributions of those across Scotland who have made a difference to their communities throughout the country and beyond.
“From those who work in the arts and music, community and charity, to those who have excelled in the fields of science and medicine, these Honours highlight truly exceptional service to the people of Scotland.
“I am particularly delighted to see Scotland’s athletes who excelled at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo so well represented.
“I’m also pleased to see those individuals who continue to do so much to help us in our fight against Covid receive the recognition they so richly deserve.
“We are all incredibly grateful for their selfless efforts and actions during a hugely challenging time, and it’s right that their outstanding contributions have been acknowledged in this way.
“I also want to extend my congratulations to those personnel who have been awarded The Queen’s Fire, Police or Ambulance Service Medals.
“Our emergency services have displayed incredible fortitude throughout the pandemic, and deserve our continued appreciation for keeping people and communities across Scotland safe, every day of the year.”
Scottish secretary Alister Jack said: “From people on the frontline of the fight against Covid and community champions, to those who have made exceptional contributions to sporting and cultural life, Her Majesty’s New Year Honours are testament to Scotland’s wealth of talent, ambition and kindness.
“Whether in the Lighthouse Lab in Glasgow or looking after mental health in the community, Scots across the nation have played their part in supporting the country during the pandemic.
“I’m delighted that Dr Roderick MacKenzie, a Glasgow University graduate, is being honoured for his outstanding contribution to public health as chief development officer at Pfizer. His work to support vaccination has doubtless helped save countless lives around the world.”
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