Campaigner recognised for his crucial role in humanist society

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Dr Bob Scott

The Humanist Society Scotland has named Dr Bob Scott as the first winner of its Gordon Ross Award.

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16th May 2016 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

The Humanist Society Scotland (HSS) has announced the first ever recipient of its Gordon Ross Award, named in honour of the prominent humanist campaigner who passed away in January.

Dr Bob Scott, a humanist celebrant and retired GP who worked in Inverness, Dunbartonshire and Drumchapel, was honoured for playing a part in many of the society’s biggest campaigns including, like Gordon, its support for assisted dying.

Dr Scott also played a key role in developing a partnership with the Association for Secular Humanism in Malawi.

The award, which was developed with the support of Gordon's family to recognise individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to humanism, is extremely fitting owing to Gordon and Dr Scott having been close friends.

Bob is a self-effacing person, never one to impose his views on others, and for that reason it is a great pleasure to give him the credit he deserves

"It is beyond doubt that anything I might have achieved during my time with the HSS has been the result of a team effort,” Dr Scott said on collecting his award.

“Without that input nothing, absolutely nothing would have been achieved. That is a fact.

"The other powerful thought the reward engenders is that a far worthier recipient would have been Gordon himself. The man was an inspiration.

“Anyone who, like me, was privileged to witness his struggle with illness and his determination to overcome the accompanying handicaps could not fail to be moved.

“There was an amazing paradox. As Gordon's physical state relentlessly and cruelly deteriorated, his stature increased.

"I feel privileged to have received this award."

Gordon Ross played an important part in the development of HSS in several roles.

He served as treasurer during the crucial period of incorporation in 2010, was a registered celebrant and national ceremonies officer, which is the most senior elected position for HSS registered celebrants.

Following the defeat of the assisted suicide bill in May 2015 Gordon unsuccessfully tried to launch a judicial review calling for it to be made clear what charges might be brought on an individual who assists someone who is terminally ill.

He appealed the rejection in December 2015 before passing away in January 2016. The appeal was rejected in February 2016.

Commenting on the award, HSS chief executive Gordon MacRae said: “The board of trustees were delighted to choose Bob Scott as the recipient for this first Gordon Ross Award.

“Bob and Gordon shared a common interest in assisted dying. They had a shared view that competent adults should be able to decide the manner and timing of their own death, especially when facing the prospect of a life shortening medical condition.

“People who have had the pleasure to get to know Bob may have learned about his significant contributions to medical developments in Malawi, however Bob is a self-effacing person, never one to impose his views on others, and for that reason it is a great pleasure to give him the credit he deserves.”