Baird of Bute founder honoured for ‘tireless’ efforts

Artist, engineer and Baird of Bute Society award winner Professor Dugald Cameron OBE presents Baird of Bute Society founder Chris Markwell with a painting of Andrew Blain Baird's historic flight at Ettrick Bay in September 1910 as a token of the society's thanks.
Artist, engineer and Baird of Bute Society award winner Professor Dugald Cameron OBE presents Baird of Bute Society founder Chris Markwell with a painting of Andrew Blain Baird's historic flight at Ettrick Bay in September 1910 as a token of the society's thanks.

The founder of the Baird of Bute Society has been honoured for his “tireless” efforts in promoting the legacy of Bute blacksmith Andrew Baird.

Chris Markwell was presented with a painting by artist, engineer and past Baird of Bute award winner Professor Dugald Cameron depicting Baird’s achievement - the first heavier-than-air flight ever undertaken in Scotland - at Ettrick Bay in September 1910.

The painting, presented at the society’s annual awards dinner in Rothesay this week, was commissioned by Argyll and Bute MSP and Baird of Bute Society supporter Michael Russell.

Mr Markwell organised the inaugural Baird of Bute Festival of Flight in 2010, marking the centenary of that historic occasion, and later formed the Baird of Bute Society with the aim of using Baird’s achievement to inspire today’s young people to aspire to greatness in science and engineering.

Paying tribute to Mr Markwell’s efforts, local councillor and Argyll and Bute provost Len Scoullar said: “The annual celebrations of Andrew Blain Baird were the brainchild of one person - Chris Markwell.

“He wanted to inspire future generations with the courage, ingenuity and sheer determination shown by that first flight.

“This event has grown and grown, and Chris has tirelessly developed new ideas, including the Baird of Bute Society’s awards for innovation and aviation and, last year, its Canadian science scholarship.

“He has used his own money, time and energy and has often had to overcome the scepticism that can arise with projects like this, and this island has much to thank him for.”

* For more from the island’s Baird of Bute celebrations see the September 26 edition of The Buteman - on sale now.