The winners of the 2013 Baird of Bute Society awards for Scottish innovation and aviation were lauded at the organisation’s annual dinner in Rothesay on Friday.
Patrick Gunning PhD, a former pupil of Rothesay Academy, received the society’s inaugural Scottish Innovation Award in recognition of his pioneering work at the University of Toronto on finding a cure for cancer, while Professor Dugald Cameron OBE, a lifelong aviation enthusiast and artist and engineer, was presented with the society’s second Scottish Aviation Award.
The awards were presented by Michael Russell, Scotland’s cabinet secretary for education and the MSP for Argyll and Bute, and Scott Grier, president and former chairman of Loganair.
The society was set up by Bute resident and retired Canadian banker Chris Markwell to honour the achievement of Bute blacksmith Andrew Blain Baird, who undertook the first all-Scottish heavier-than-air powered flight at Ettrick Bay, in a monoplane he designed and built himself, in September 1910, and to inspire today’s young people to follow in Baird’s footsteps.
Praising the society’s twin aims of “innovation and inspiration”, Mr Russell said: “In a sense it doesn’t matter that Andrew Baird was the first: what matters is that he had a vision, a dream, and the will and inspiration to carry out that dream, and to pass on that vision of anything being possible.”
Friday’s dinner also saw the presentation by Mr Grier - recipient in 2012 of the society’s inaugural Scottish Aviation Award - of the first Loganair Baird Scholarship to 17-year-old Owen Walker, a pupil at Kirkwall Grammar School in Orkney, who is already well on his way to becoming a qualified pilot after completing 12 hours of training, including his first solo flight.
* Keep an eye on this site and on the September 27 issue of The Buteman for more from Friday’s awards dinner, including an exclusive interview with Patrick Gunning, and full coverage of Saturday’s Baird of Bute Festival of Flight.