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Scottish Labour deputy leader ‘humbled’ to receive damehood at ceremony

Scottish Labour’s deputy leader has said she was “deeply humbled” to receive a damehood from the Princess Royal during an investiture ceremony at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Dame Jackie Baillie received the honour for political and public service, making her the first sitting MSP to either be knighted or given a damehood.

She has been the MSP for Dumbarton since the Scottish Parliament was created in 1999, and she became deputy Scottish Labour leader in 2020.

Dame Jackie Baillie
Dame Jackie Baillie previously told how she was nominated for the honour by her constituents (Jane Barlow/PA)

Following the ceremony on Wednesday at the royal residence in Edinburgh, she said: “It is deeply humbling to receive this honour on behalf of my constituents and in light of 25 years of service in the Scottish Parliament.

“I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Dumbarton in the Scottish Parliament in the years to come.”

Dame Jackie was named Scottish Politician of the Year 2023 by the Herald newspaper for helping to steer Scottish Labour’s revival and securing its first Westminster by-election win over the SNP.

Among others to receive honours at the palace on Wednesday were broadcaster and author Sally Magnusson, who was made an MBE for services to people with dementia and their carers.

She founded the charity Playlist for Life in 2013 after observing the effect music had on her mother’s dementia. It works with families and care homes to encourage people to develop a playlist of personally meaningful music for those with dementia.

Investitures at Palace of Holyroodhouse
Sally Magnusson was honoured for her work with dementia patients (Jane Barlow/PA)

Upon being made an MBE, she said: “It’s lovely that this award recognises the restorative power of personally meaningful music to people living with dementia.

“Through this music they find themselves able to experience genuine joy and connection again.

“I’m thrilled to accept the award on behalf of Playlist for Life, and the many people who have supported us over the years.”

Charity campaigner Cor Hutton was also made an MBE at Wednesday’s ceremony.

She nearly died in 2013 after suffering acute pneumonia and sepsis, and as a result she had to have both her hands and legs below the knee amputated.

Six years later in 2019, Dr Hutton became the first person in Scotland to receive a double hand transplant, and in the same year she was named Scotswoman of the Year.

Investitures at Palace of Holyroodhouse
Cor Hutton was made an MBE (Jane Barlow/PA)

Dr Hutton, who received an honorary degree from the Open University in 2019, set up the charity Finding Your Feet to support amputees.

Speaking after the ceremony, she said: “I’m really flattered to receive the honour. Obviously a little embarrassed that it’s just me and not the team at the charity.

“I’ve accepted for everyone who works with us and has been a part of all the success we’ve had.

“Above all I’m grateful that our services are recognised and grateful that it puts amputees in the spotlight.

“I lost my limbs to sepsis and hopefully this raises vital awareness of that and how to spot it, as well as the countless other conditions or situations that can lead to losing limbs.”

She said it was “absolutely brilliant” to meet Anne, adding: “I’ve always been an admirer of her charity work and we had a lovely chat which lasted a bit longer than with others – people who know me won’t be surprised that I managed to keep her talking.”

Figures from charity and the emergency services were also honoured at the ceremony.