Great Scots! To mark Burns Night on Friday, some top Scots name their nation's person of the year

view gallery VIEW GALLERY


While the world is celebrating the life and poetry of Scotland's national bard this week, at Burns Nights across the globe, a charity will mark the day in a different way: by announcing its Scot of the Year.

The past 12 months have been awash with the "tartan spirit": Scots brought home 14 medals in the Olympics and 11 in the Paralympics. Andy Murray became the only man to win the Olympic singles gold and the US Open in the same year, while cyclist Chris Hoy became the most successful Olympian ever.

Scottish politicians secured the right for a referendum to be held on their nation's independence, while the daughter of a Scot wrote the best-selling book in British history – Fifty Shades of Grey.

Willie Docherty, CEO of ScotsCare, the charity which is organising the award, chosen by public vote, said it would ensure "Scots get the recognition for continually punching above their weight". Martha Payne, 10, who raised more than £100,000 to help schools in Malawi from her blog about her school dinners, is in the top position.

The Independent on Sunday asked some of Scotland's highest-profile stars who they would vote the best Scot of 2012. They didn't hold back.

Katherine Grainger

Olympic gold-medal winner

Britain's most successful female rower. The Glasgow-born athlete also has silver medals from the Sydney, Athens and Beijing Olympics, and six world championship titles in her collection. Her Scot of the Year is singer Emeli Sandé, who received the Brit Awards Critics' Choice Award last year and wowed crowds at the Games. "Listening to her at the opening and closing ceremonies at the Olympics was absolutely amazing. Definitely a gold medal voice," Grainger said.

Django Django


The Mercury award-nominated Scottish indie rock band met at Edinburgh College of Art and now live in London. They said their Scot of the Year was electronic music producer Hudson Mohawke (real name: Ross Birchard), who is signed to Warp records and Kanye West's record label. "[We] love the TNGHT EP and we think he will do great things in hip-hop this year," the band said.

Alex Salmond

Scotland's First Minister

Born in Linlithgow, West Lothian, Salmond is head of the Scottish National Party and the longest-serving First Minister. His Scot of the Year is the late Khalil Dale, the British Red Cross worker from Dumfries who was abducted and murdered in Pakistan last year. "A true Scot with true compassionate values, he dedicated 30 years of his life to helping others. Fittingly, he has been nominated for the annual Robert Burns Humanitarian Award to be announced next weekend," Mr Salmond said.

Jenny Colgan


The Ayrshire-born writer has written more than a dozen books; her science-fiction Doctor Who novel was published last year. Her Scot of the Year is tennis star Andy Murray, who won the Olympic gold medal and the US Open last year. "Sorry to be so boring, but it has to be [him].I think it's ridiculous to demand that our top athletes are tame, smiling creatures. He's brilliant at what he does; he doesn't need to be bloody Katherine Jenkins as well," said Colgan.

Claire Mundell

Chair of Bafta in Scotland and director of Glasgow's Synchronicity Films

The award-winning film-maker's Scot of the Year is the actress Karen Gillan, who left Doctor Who last year. "She's one of the UK's coolest, brightest stars. Last year Karen gave us one of the best, most heartbreaking Doctor Who exits of all time, and also scooped best female drama performance for her role as Amy Pond – and deservedly so. She's destined for great things," Ms Mundell said.

Sir Menzies Campbell

MP for North East Fife

The former leader of the Liberal Democrats is also a former Olympic athlete and barrister. His Scot of the Year is rower Katherine Grainger, who took gold at the 2012 Olympics. "It took enormous commitment and determination after three successive silver medals to put herself on the line once more in London. Scots of all ages could not have a better role model," said Sir Menzies.

Margaret Curran

Labour MP for Glasgow East

Curran, the shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, has been working in the Scottish government since 1999. Her Scot of the Year is fellow MP Anne Begg, the first wheelchair user elected to the House of Commons, and chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee. "Anne is an outstanding role model for MPs. She is dedicated, forensically intelligent and, in my view, far too modest. Anne is the unsung heroine of Parliament when it comes to welfare reform in Britain and deserves credit for all the hours she puts in to holding this Tory-led Government to account," Ms Curran said.

Irvine Welsh

Novelist, playwright and writer

Welsh was born in Leith and shot to fame when his novel Trainspotting was published. His Scot of the Year is musician and producer Calvin Harris. "[His album] 18 Months was massively successful; it's already like an old-school greatest hits album. More importantly, 2012 was a huge year for dance music as it really took over America. Calvin Harris and others constantly toured and thus promoted the genre. No other Scottish artist had his reach in 2012," said Welsh.

Geoff Ellis

Music promoter

Geoff Ellis organises Scotland's largest music festival, T in the Park. His Scot of the Year is cyclist Sir Chris Hoy. "He's Scotland's highest achieving sports person and the most successful British Olympian ever. He's inspired a whole generation worldwide through a combination of phenomenal hard work and dedication. Chris, and his fellow Olympians, have elevated sport stars to superstar status," said Mr Ellis.



The Glasgow-born star has been in the entertainment industry for more than 50 years. Her Scot of the Year is the actor Alan Cumming, who performed every character in an adaptation of Macbeth last year. "Alan is a great ambassador for Scottish arts. He is so multi-talented – a serious actor and great writer but always with a wry Scottish humour and twinkle in his eye," Lulu said.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little