Three are Free in ER gong awards

Cllr Allan Steele
Cllr Allan Steele

A TRIO of residents are being awarded East Renfrewshire council’s highest honour.

ERC will reward Scoland’s chief medical officer Dr Harry Burns along with former councillors’ Iain Drysdale and Allan Steele for their dedication to public service.

Cllr Ian Drysdale

Cllr Ian Drysdale

The new freemen will join some much lauded company in three previous East Ren Freemen — Holocaust survivor Marianne Grant, former councillor Walter McCready and new Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish.

Allan Steele became ERC’s first provost after previously serving Strathclyde regional council. Mr Steele — who was awarded the title of MBE in the 2003 honours list — told The Extra: “I am extremely honoured to receive this somewhat rare and prestigious award.

“I am both proud and humbled to join the company of the past recipients and former colleague Iain Drysdale and Sir Harry Burns in accepting this honour”.

East Renfrewshire council leader, councillor Jim Fletcher, said: “Each of our three new Freemen have made a significant contribution to life in our area.

Harry Burns

Harry Burns

“They have shown throughout their lives in public service a dedication that goes beyond the boundaries of the role they carried out”.

Iain Drysdale — also a former councillor in Strathclyde — joined ERC from 1995 until 2007.

During this time he headed the Conservative Group as well as chairing the audit committee.

Mr Drysdale said: “I am particularly pleased to have the opportunity to pay due credit for the committee’s successes to the wonderful council team who supported me throughout”.

But it’s not just former councillors who are being recognised.

Dr Harry Burns, who recently received a Knighthood in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List in recognition of outstanding achievement and service to society, is the chief medical officer for Scotland and has been since September 2005.

Born in Barrhead and educated at St Thomas’ Primary School in Neilston he has lived in East Ren throughout his long and distinguished career in public health.

Dr Burns, who council leader Jim Fletcher describes as “one of our home-grown talents” has received a number of awards since graduating from Glasgow university in 1974.

The professor said: “I feel honoured and humbled.

“I am a proud resident and have been grateful over the years for the support and friendship of so many of my fellow residents”.

The ceremony to honour East Renfrewshire’s three new Freemen will be held in autumn.