Dame Evelyn Glennie honoured for outstanding contribution to Scottish society

Dame Evelyn Glennie

Dame Evelyn Glennie

Dame Evelyn Glennie and three other prominent Scots have been honoured for their outstanding contribution to Scotland’s culture and society.

The four individuals each received the 2016 Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun Award in recognition of their outstanding achievements in the fields of science, the arts and public life at a special ceremony at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness today (Saturday, September 10).

Established in 1988, this year’s Fletcher of Saltoun Awards are part of a busy programme of events marking the Saltire Society’s 80thanniversary celebrations.

They recognise outstanding contributions to Scottish society across different walks of life.

The awards celebrate the legacy of Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, a seventeenth century Scottish writer and politician and a keen patron of the arts during his lifetime.

Virtuoso percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and playwright and visual artist John Byrne were both recognised for their contribution to the Arts and Humanities.

Gaelic language activist John Angus Mackay received an award in recognition of his contribution to Scottish public life while leading astronomer Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell was honoured with a Fletcher of Saltoun Award for her contribution to science.

Born and raised in Aberdeenshire, Dame Evelyn Glennie has collaborated on musical projects with popular musicians such as Bjork and Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett.

She has been profoundly deaf since the age of 12 and has lobbied successfully over the years for more funding for music education for young people.

She also performed live at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.

Commenting on receiving the award, Dame Evelyn said: “A huge thank you for awarding me the Fletcher Award for Arts and Humanities. This is a huge surprise and honour for me and I think as with all awards or moments of recognition, it just allows me to pause, and reflect, to look back and to also think where am I now, and to also look forward.

“I feel very proud to have had my education in Aberdeenshire, where that seed of curiosity towards the arts, and in particular music in my case, was very, very strong indeed and that sense of journey and faith I suppose really gave me the impetus to pursue music as a profession.

“So thank you very, very much indeed and please keep up the wonderful work you do that affects so many of us.”

John Angus Mackay said: "I am very pleased and deeply honoured to receive the Fletcher of Saltoun Award from the Saltire Society. In particular, I would like to accept it not only on my own behalf, but in recognition of the advice, encouragement, support and friendship that I have had from many people along the way - not only in Scotland but internationally.

"Gaelic language and culture has contributed to Scottish life, and the wider world, for many years, and I have been privileged to have the opportunity to ensure the continuity of that contribution through engaging with communities and changing institutional perspectives and behaviours. I am very grateful to the Saltire Society for recognising that."

Upon receiving the award John Byrne said: “I am delighted to accept your prestigious Fletcher of Saltire Award 2016 and deeply honoured into the bargain.”

Jocelyn Bell Burnell commented: “I am delighted, surprised and honoured by your decision – thank you very much. I have great pleasure in accepting.”

The award winners were announced as part of the Saltire Society’s 80th Anniversary Annual General Meeting.