Inspirational, phenomenal and outstanding – just some of the words used to describe Pride of Scotland winners Dr Kenneth Baillie, Karen Morrison and Jamie McCallum.
The incredible trio’s selfless determination to improve the lives of others saw them honoured by the great and the good at our glittering event at Hopetoun House in South Queensferry.
Here we meet the three bighearted Scots, who stole hearts at the awards, in partnership with TSB.
Comedian Janey Godley and sea shanty sensation Nathan Evans, who kept the nation entertained during lockdown, both hailed the true hero of the pandemic – Dr Kenneth Baillie.
The critical care specialist has been a leading light in the fight against Covid-19, heading up vital studies and contributing to the trial which found the first effective treatment.
Presenting Dr Baillie with his Special Recognition award, Janey, whose hilarious voiceovers of Nicola Sturgeon’s Covid briefings have gone viral said: “The work he has done is unbelievable. While I’ve been telling Frank to get the door and wittering on about clicky pens, he’s been finding a treatment.
“He’s been able to find and isolate teeny weeny genes while the rest of us couldn’t find a toilet roll. He is one of the real heroes of the pandemic.”
Nathan, who scored a number one with his Wellerman sea shanty, added: “While I’ve been busy singing and strumming my guitar, Dr Baillie has been busy saving the lives of actual people. I feel so humbled by all the Pride of Scotland winners.”
For the last 20 years Dr Baillie, 42, who leads a lab at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute, has focused his research on better care for seriously-ill patients and how genes can play a part in response to infection.
He contributed to the set-up and delivery of the RECOVERY trial, which found the first effective treatment, a steroid called dexamethasone, and has gone on to find a further two treatments.
Dr Baillie, an intensive care consultant at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, said: “I’m honoured to receive this recognition, but really it is a team of thousands of people across the country who have done the research that’s being recognised. The response from everyone, researchers, lab staff, clinicians and support teams, has been inspiring.
“We all still have a lot of work left to do and we’re still seeing people die of Covid in ICUs across the country. But we’ve shown that we can turn Covid into a treatable disease.”
TSB Community Hero
Still Game’s Sanjeev Kohli and Gavin Mitchell had a ball on stage with Jamie McCallum and his family at our people’s Oscars.
The actors joked around with Gregor, six, Rosie, eight and Abigail 10, while presenting their dad with his well-deserved TSB Community Hero Award.
Sanjeev and Gavin paid tribute to Jamie, 42, whose viral video featuring children with Down syndrome led to the creation of a charity and inspirational movement challenging negative perceptions.
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Gavin, who played barman Bobby in the hit comedy series, said: “Jamie speaks with brutal honesty about his feelings which is refreshing and lets other
families know that they are not alone. He’s an inspirational dad and his kids are a credit to both him and his wife.”
When Jamie’s daughter Rosie was born eight years ago with Down syndrome, it changed his life. The father-of-three discovered that while her condition meant
challenges lay ahead, it was also an integral part of who she was and he “wouldn’t change a thing” about her.
His passion for changing outdated perceptions about Down syndrome led to him creating a Carpool Karaoke style video called #wouldntchangeathing in 2018.
It featured 50 mums and their children with Down syndrome singing and signing, and it went viral, having been viewed more than 500million times and making headlines in 30 countries.
Its success triggered the creation of a parent-led charity of the same name, of which Jamie is chairman. They have now put together a book called Wouldn’t Change a Thing that will be given to every new parent of a baby with Down syndrome.
Jamie, from Prestwick, said: “The challenges we overcome are what make us who we are. Some of the most enriching experiences we’ve ever had are also because of Down Syndrome. “
“This scenario – where you actually could or would ‘change a thing’ – sends a shiver down my spine.”
Newsreader Kelly Ann Woodland was moved to tears when she heard how foster mum Karen Morrison has dedicated her life to helping siblings in care spend time together.
As the mum of two young boys, the STV anchorwoman was touched by the work Karen is doing to ensure brothers and sisters separated by the care system can be reunited and make happy memories.
Kelly Ann, who was presenting the inspirational mum with her Pride of Scotland Award, said: “Karen is remarkable. I can’t imagine my two boys being separated and not being able to meet up. It’s so heartbreaking. Enabling brothers and sisters to be together is a priceless gift.”
As a foster carer, Karen Morrison saw first-hand that the care system had a problem.
Brothers and sisters were often being split up, going long periods without contact, because of a lack of placements where they could stay together.
Determined to ensure siblings don’t become strangers, Karen founded the charity Siblings Reunited (STAR) in 2013.
It was the first charity of its kind in Scotland and since launching Karen and her many highly experienced volunteers have reunited 500 estranged siblings. Some have gone without contact for six months while others have never met.
Karen, 47, who hosts the children at her farm in Newburgh, Fife said: “Siblings Reunited developed from my personal belief that children separated from their brothers and sisters in care could benefit hugely if they had a place to meet that they could call their own special place.
“It has been hugely rewarding to see the difference this has made to so many groups of brothers and sisters who can trust that, here, they will have regular, fun and safe contact with each other supported by adult volunteers.”
Karen was dumbfounded to win a Pride of Scotland award. “I was so shocked, I just went silent when I was told, it took a long while to sink in! It’s great recognition although that is not why I founded STAR. I’m just glad there are people out there that think it is a wonderful idea and see how much it’s needed.”
– Watch the Pride of Scotland Awards on STV on Tuesday, July 27 at 8pm