A CLACKMANNANSHIRE native has received the highest honour in Scotland in a special ceremony attended by the Queen in Edinburgh.

Sir George Reid, a former Clacks MP, MSP and Lord Lieutenant, was made a Knight Companion in the Order of the Thistle at St Giles' Cathedral.

The official ceremony was followed by a lunch with Queen, Prince Charles, Princess Anne and fellow members of the Order at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

"It was an enjoyable experience," he told the Advertiser. "It was unusual for me to be dressed in velvet with a plumed hat and jewellery! I regard it as an experience rather than a rank.

"It is an honour, it is a gift of the queen. It is limited to 16 people plus the royal family."

As a member of the Order, Sir George will have the opportunity to attend an annual service in St Giles' Cathedral on the Sunday nearest to St Andrews Day and is also likely to be asked to carry out other duties.

"A lot of things come to you if you have this honour," he explained. "People who come to you and say can you help us with this and I will do that in the university and academic field and locally in Clackmannanshire."

Despite the honour – and having now been knighted twice – Sir George remains modest with the accolade.

He added: "I am just what I have always been when I was MP and MSP here. I hope Wee County folk will simply call me George.

“I owe everything to the Wee County. My family was living in Muckhart, Tillicoultry, Menstrie, Tullibody and Alloa from the 17th century onwards.

“They were shepherds, soldiers, coopers and colliers. My father was born into a desperately poor, widowed family but rose from office boy to be managing director and chairman of Maclays Brewery in Alloa.

“He never told anybody, but every Christmas he went round Tullibody giving a guinea to poor widowed women. He was one of the first employers in Scotland to hire people with learning and mental health issues.

“That shaped me, as did my ten years at Dollar Academy when I learned its ethos of working hard, being kind and getting involved."

The latest honour also means Sir George is now entitled to his own Coat of Arms which us currently under design and is likely to give a nod to the former politician's roots.

"That is going to be quite a long process," he added. "Covid has produced an enormous rush of people wanting a coat of arms. I suspect people were locked up in the house and were saying what do we do, let's do a family tree.

"I will do a basic design which features Clackmannanshire and then the Lord Lyon Court has to approve it. There are all sorts of rules like which colour can go on top of which colour."

Clackmannanshire was well-represented at last months ceremony in St Giles' Cathedral.

In attendance was Lt-Col Johnny Stewart, Sir George's successor as Lord-Lieutenant of Clackmannanshire and commander of the Royal Company of Archer's, who are the Queen’s official bodyguard in Scotland.

Alloa-born Dr Joseph Barrow, the Lord Lyon King of Arms was also present and proclaimed Sir George’s official style and title.

Lord Wilson of Tillyorn, also born in Alloa and one of George's supporters, was also in the Thistle Chapel for the ceremony as was Lord Steel of Aikwood, whom George has known since his teenage years and whose wife Daphne went to school with David’s wife Judy in Bridge of Allan.