Presiding Officer to receive Freedom of Clackmannanshire


Presiding Officer George Reid is to receive the Freedom of Clackmannanshire on Thursday 19 April.

It is the highest honour his home county can bestow on its citizens and has been awarded by the council to "record for all time the appreciation, gratitude and respect of the citizens of Clackmannanshire."

The award will be made at a ceremony in Alloa Town Hall, where Mr Reid was first elected as an MP in February 1974 and where his final election as MSP for Ochil was announced in May 2003. He has never contested elections anywhere else.

Mr Reid said: "It has been my greatest privilege to serve the community from which I come. As a Wee County boy, born and bred, I am truly honoured by this award."

Provost Derek Stewart said: "During his eight years in the Scottish Parliament and, in particular, as a result of the way in which he has fulfilled the duties of Presiding Officer, George has made a distinguished contribution to the development of public life in post-devolution Scotland.

"For people in Clackmannanshire, however, what is perhaps most significant is his loyalty to the county and the unfailing enthusiasm he has demonstrated for promoting its interests.

"He is certainly one of the great Scots of our generation and we are incredibly proud that he is from the Wee County. That is why I am delighted that we are conferring our highest honour on George.”

The Alloa ceremony will feature the main elements of Mr Reid's career: his education at Dollar Academy, his work as a journalist, his service in wars and disasters for the International Red Cross, and his contributions to both Westminster and Holyrood.

He will be presented with a 'Freedom Scroll' by the Council stating: "In the consideration of the high regard and esteem which you command, and in recognition of your unfailing commitment to the interests of Clackmannanshire and your contribution to public life in Scotland and beyond, Clackmannanshire Council determines to bestow on you its highest civic honour.

"In passing this resolution the Provost and Councillors of Clackmannanshire confer upon you the Freedom of the County of Clackmannanshire and do hereby record for all time the appreciation, gratitude and respect of the citizens of Clackmannanshire."


George Reid's earliest recorded ancestor, John Reid, was a shepherd in Muckhart in the 18th century. His family have always lived in Clackmannanshire - in Muckhart, Tillicoultry, Menstrie, Tullibody and Alloa.

Born in Tullibody in 1939, George Reid was educated at Abercromby School, Dollar Academy and the University of St Andrews. He is married with two daughters.

He started his career as a journalist in the 1960s, working for the BBC, Scottish Television, Granada and a number of newspapers and later became a producer and correspondent with ITV and BBC in UK, Europe and Africa.

He served as an MP (SNP) and Member of the Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe and Western European Union between 1974 and 1979 and between 1984 and 1996 was Director of Public Affairs for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent, based in Geneva but also working worldwide in conflict and disaster zones.

From 1998 to 1999 he was a member of the Steering Group for the Scottish Parliament before becoming an elected Member of the Scottish Parliament and Deputy Officer in 1999.

In May 2003 he was elected as constituency MSP for Ochil and as Presiding Officer.

Over 33 years in public life, Mr Reid has campaigned for "Connecting Clacks" through a new road to Stirling, a new bridge over the Forth at Kincardine, and the return of the railway to Alloa, all objectives now secured. In addition, he has fought environmental, educational and civic battles on behalf of local voluntary organisations.

He has been awarded the Pirogov Gold Medal of the USSR and the Gold Medal of the Supreme Soviet of Armenia (both for work during the 1988 Armenian earthquake) and more recently, the Scottish Politician of the Year Award in 2003 and 2005. He is also to be awarded the Russian Order of Friendship later this month.

Appointed Privy Councillor in August 2004; Awarded Doctorates by St Andrews and Queen Margaret Universities and, later this year, by Edinburgh University. Visiting professor at Glasgow University.

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