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Catriona Matthew likens OBE to Solheim Cup victory as she collects royal honour

Former footballer Rose Reilly was also among 115 recipients recognised at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

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Brigadier Clare Phillips after receiving her CBE during an investiture ceremony at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

Brigadier Clare Phillips after receiving her CBE during an investiture ceremony at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

Brigadier Clare Phillips after receiving her CBE during an investiture ceremony at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

High-profile names in Scottish sport, business, charity campaigns and military veterans have received honours from the Princess Royal at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The 115 people honoured were recognised over the last two years but until now they were not able to receive their awards in person because of the pandemic.

Top golfer Catriona Matthew, who grew up in North Berwick and who plays mainly on the US-based Ladies Pro Golf Association circuit, was one of the recipients at the ceremony in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

An “absolutely delighted” Matthew said her OBE brought back memories of her win at the Solheim Cup – a biennial golf tournament for professional women – in Gleneagles in 2019.

She told the PA news agency: “There are so many other people getting other awards for all different fields, so for golf to be in there and recognised among that felt very special.”

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Catriona Matthew after receiving her OBE during an investiture ceremony at the Palace of Holyroodhouse (Jane Barlow/PA)

Catriona Matthew after receiving her OBE during an investiture ceremony at the Palace of Holyroodhouse (Jane Barlow/PA)

PA

Catriona Matthew after receiving her OBE during an investiture ceremony at the Palace of Holyroodhouse (Jane Barlow/PA)

Rose Reilly, a former professional footballer from East Ayrshire who played for Scotland and Italy, was made an MBE for her services to the women’s game.

She said following the ceremony: “It’s so emotional. I am so proud of myself, women’s football and I am proud for my wee village of Stewarton.”

The 67-year-old attracted the interest of scouts at Celtic when she started playing as a child, and was allowed to take part provided she cut her hair short and called herself Ross.

She then went on to play for Reims as a teenager, and later joined ACF Milan, and was a member of the victorious Italian national side which won the Mundialito, the precursor to the women’s World Cup, in 1984.

“This recognition is good for the future players, the wee girls, that they can see that they can achieve something as a woman footballer in Scotland,” she added.

“I can sit back on my laurels now.”

When asked about how her conversation with Princess Anne went, she replied: “I said ‘Your Royal Highness, it’s a pleasure to get my MBE off a fellow sportswoman’.

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Former footballer Rose Reilly received an MBE (Jane Barlow/PA)

Former footballer Rose Reilly received an MBE (Jane Barlow/PA)

PA

Former footballer Rose Reilly received an MBE (Jane Barlow/PA)

“She said, ‘I was interested, Rose, how come you played for Italy?’ And I said because I was banned from playing for Scotland, Scotland didn’t want me, but the Italians did, and she said ‘how amazing’.”

Elsewhere, Brigadier Clare Phillips, colonel of career management operations at the Army’s Personnel Centre and co-chairwoman of the Army LGBT+ Network, was made a CBE.

When asked about meeting Princess Anne, the former Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) Corps colonel said she felt “incredibly honoured”.

She added: “I’ve been practising my curtsy, which is not something that I have regularly had to do in the past.

“The Princess Royal was incredibly kind and she remembered that I am part of the REME, and that we recently rehomed the Corps to what was RAF Lyneham and which is now MoD Lyneham.

“I was able to remind her that her father, his Royal Highness Prince Philip, opened the barracks just about five years ago, and it’s a superb new home for us, which was part of the reason that I’m privileged to have been given this award.”

Brig Phillips, who joined the Army in 1995, a time when she could have been discharged for being gay, was accompanied by her wife Nicky, who has served in the police for 28 years.

“Had I been able to bring more guests I would have brought my sister who’s currently loitering outside the gates of the palace,” Brig Phillips said.

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Brigadier Clare Phillips thanked her family for their support (Jane Barlow/PA)

Brigadier Clare Phillips thanked her family for their support (Jane Barlow/PA)

PA

Brigadier Clare Phillips thanked her family for their support (Jane Barlow/PA)

“But also my mum and dad.

“I am absolutely certain that I could not have done any of the things that I have done without Nicky’s support and the support of my family.”

Many of the high achievers were recognised for their efforts during the pandemic.

Scott McPartlin MBE, a telecoms engineer from Glasgow, was honoured for services to telecoms after he camped in a tent on a beach on the inner Hebridean island of Coll for three days to restore service to a vulnerable remote resident who had lost connection because of a lightning strike.

MPs in the House of Commons said his actions were a “shining example of the heroic efforts that key workers were doing across Scotland to keep critical national infrastructure running.”

Olivia Strong, founder of Run For Heroes, a campaign which raised millions for the NHS during lockdown, said collecting her MBE “didn’t feel real”.

She told PA: “It’s lovely to be recognised for the fundraising done during Covid.

“I got an email through and I genuinely thought it was my friends winding me up, and then I realised it was real.”

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Olivia Strong after receiving her MBE in Edinburgh for her services to fundraising during the pandemic (Jane Barlow/PA)

Olivia Strong after receiving her MBE in Edinburgh for her services to fundraising during the pandemic (Jane Barlow/PA)

PA

Olivia Strong after receiving her MBE in Edinburgh for her services to fundraising during the pandemic (Jane Barlow/PA)

Ms Strong came up with the idea of encouraging people to run 5k and donate £5 to the NHS during lockdown while out running at Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh.

The campaign took off and raised about £10 million for NHS Charities Together.

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Craig Thomson said his family had made sacrifices for him during his career (Jane Barlow/PA)

Craig Thomson said his family had made sacrifices for him during his career (Jane Barlow/PA)

PA

Craig Thomson said his family had made sacrifices for him during his career (Jane Barlow/PA)

Ms Strong said “the MBE is for everyone” who helped with and took part in the campaign.

Craig Thomson, who was a referee for 30 years in Europe and domestically, was made an MBE for services to football and charity in Scotland.

He said: “Surprised, was my first reaction, then I was delighted for recognition for the hard work.”

Mr Thomson said he would not have received the award without his family “making sacrifices”.

He added: “A day like today to come to a palace like this and get an award, it’s recognition both for myself but also for the hard work my family has put in behind the scenes.”

Rick Kenney, who has been involved in judo in Scotland, the UK and the Commonwealth for 60 years, said collecting his OBE made him feel “absolutely proud and elated”.

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Richard Kenney after receiving his OBE during an Investiture ceremony at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

Richard Kenney after receiving his OBE during an Investiture ceremony at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

PA

Richard Kenney after receiving his OBE during an Investiture ceremony at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

He said the day marked a good day for judo, adding: “It’s great for the sport and giving us a great opportunity to show our worth and to be noted by those whoever take the decisions about the honours.

“To give me an OBE was just fabulous.”

Former professional basketball player Kieron Achara – who played for Glasgow Rocks, Scotland’s only professional basketball team, and represented Scotland and the UK at national level – described receiving his MBE as “the icing on the cake” of his sports career.

He was honoured for services to community sport in Scotland.

Asked about the award, the 6ft 10in sportsman said: “To be brutally honest I thought it was a prank, I didn’t know it was happening.

“At the same time I thought about my papa who was awarded a BEM back in the day and a flood of emotions came back about how proud I was of him, and maybe my kids will think the same, so it was a great honour and such a privilege.”

Mr Achara captained Scotland in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and is chairman of Rocks in the Community Foundation, which uses basketball to create a positive impact on the community.

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Kieron Achara (Jane Barlow/PA)

Kieron Achara (Jane Barlow/PA)

PA

Kieron Achara (Jane Barlow/PA)

Fiona Drouet – the mother of an undergraduate, Emily, who took her own life after being subjected to a campaign of gender-based violence – could not make the ceremony, but was made an MBE after she set up Scottish charity EmilyTest which helps tackle such violence.

Gamekeeper Alexander Hogg, who is based in the Scottish Borders and who has been chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association since 2000, received an MBE for services to gamekeeping in Scotland.

He said: “I am overjoyed for the gamekeepers.

“This honour has been very rarely awarded for this reason and I’d like to thank the whole gamekeeping family because it is a team, not me.

“This is for everyone who has been there for The Scottish Gamekeepers Association all these years, since the outset.”

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