Friday, December 31, 2010

Disabled Scottish MP Anne Begg honored with OBE for work on disability rights

From The Daily Record in Scotland:

Annie Lennox and Anne Begg (pictured) lead the Scottish charge in today's New Year's Honours List.

Eurythmics singer Lennox, 56, lands an OBE for her work fighting AIDS and poverty in Africa.

And Aberdeen South MP Begg, 55, makes it a double for the Granite City as she is made a Dame for campaigning work with disabled people.

The first full-time wheelchair user in the Commons is also heralded for putting equal opportunities on the agenda in parliament.

The duo are among hundreds who will receive gongs.

Actors, sports stars and politicians are honoured alongside business leaders, community workers and volunteers in the list.

High-profile recipients include Poirot actor David Suchet, who gets a CBE. An MBE goes to US Open and Ryder Cup winning golfer Graeme McDowell.

Aberdeen-born Lennox, who has sold more than 80 million albums worldwide, now splits her time between campaigning and music.

The peace activist last night said she was surprised to be granted an OBE, because of her anti-authority nature.

The Sweet Dreams singer said: "I'm genuinely honoured to be part of the New Year's Honours list for 2010.

"As somewhat of a renegade, it either means I've done something terribly right - or they've done something terribly wrong.

"In any case, whatever powers that be have deemed me worthy of such a recognition, I'm getting my fake leopard pillbox hat dusted and ready."

Lennox has long campaigned to raise awareness of AIDS in Africa. She was appointed as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for AIDS and has worked with ex-PM Gordon Brown's wife Sarah on several initiatives.

She added: "I was never much of a one to win prizes... and certainly never placed too much value on their acquisition.

"Therefore, I take this as more of an appreciation for the gentle turning of the years for someone who's enormously grateful for being able to breathe more or less freely in a totally insane world."

Brechin-born Labour MP Begg - who becomes Dame Anne - was elected in the party's 1997 landslide and has been a well-known face in parliament for the past two decades.

She has used a wheelchair since 1984, after being born with Gaucher's disease, a rare genetic condition which causes regular bone breakages.

She is now chairman of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, and has chaired the All Party Group on Equalities and the All Party Group on Chronic Pain.

The former teacher, who was educated at Aberdeen University, also headed a one-off parliamentary conference on the representation of women, disabled people and ethnic minorities.