LOGANAIR Chairman Scott Grier OBE was presented with the first ever Baird of Bute Society Scottish Aviation Award at the weekend and unveiled the introduction of the airline’s inaugural flight scholarship.
Mr Grier, chairman of Scotland’s airline, which celebrates 50 years of operation this year, was the guest of honour at a civic reception held at the Victoria Hotel, Rothesay, on the eve of the society’s annual Baird of Bute Festival.
In his acceptance speech Mr Grier announced the launch of the new Loganair-Baird Flying Scholarship, which will be presented annually to a school-leaver resident in the Scottish Highlands and Islands.
The selected applicant will be given 12 hours of flying lessons at Tayside Aviation in Dundee. Mr Grier said "I am sure this scholarship will help to stimulate an interest among young people in a flying career."
Christopher Markwell, Chairman of the Baird of Bute Society, announced that Mr Grier would be presented with first Baird of Bute Society Scottish Aviation Award earlier this month.
The unique Baird of Bute Society Scottish Aviation Award was introduced to honour an individual who has made a significant contribution to the industry in Scotland, and in doing so has provided inspiration to the youth of Scotland.
The Baird of Bute Society was formed to celebrate the memory and historic achievements of Andrew Blain Baird, a humble blacksmith and son of Bute, who in September 1910 achieved the “first all-Scottish, heavier-than-air powered flight” in an aircraft of his own design and construction on the Island.
The trustees of the Baird of Bute Society were honoured to announce that the winner of the inaugural award would be Mr Grier, who successfully led a management buy-out of the company in 1997 and immediately set about repositioning Loganair as Scotland’s airline.
Since 1997 Mr Grier has steadily acquired additional resources and built a dedicated and enthusiastic 400-strong team at Loganair, leading the now thriving airline through the recent economic downturn and assuring it is well placed to tackle a further another 50 years.
Mr Grier said: “I am absolutely delighted to receive this prestigious award, which commemorates the father of flight in Scotland.
“In recognition of the spirit of the Baird of Bute Society Scottish Aviation Award, I wanted to help set a course for one young aspiring pilot of the future.
“That is why I have announced the introduction of the Loganair-Baird Flying Scholarship, which will be awarded to one lucky school leaver from the Highlands and Islands - an area of Scotland we have been privileged to serve for more than half a century.
“Both my sons achieved their Private Pilot’s Licenses through the Tayside Aviation Flight Training Organisation, so I can personally vouch for the high-quality training offered there.
“The twelve-hour flight-training scholarship we will fund each year will provide the chosen recipient with a fantastic introduction to the world of aviation.”
On Saturday Mr Grier also visited the Baird Airstrip on the Isle of Bute as part of the annual festival celebrations. Dignitaries and pilots from across Scotland, most arriving in their own aircraft, joined visitors in watching numerous fly-overs and aerobatic displays.
In the afternoon Mr Grier was again honoured at Ettrick Bay beach, where Andrew Baird undertook his flight into history more than 102 years ago.
Society Chairman Christopher Markwell said: “Scott Grier was the perfect inaugural selection for the Baird of Bute Society Aviation Award, not only because his success story leading Loganair justifies it, but because he also shares the society's foundational mission to inspire and assist the youth of Scotland to aspire to better realise their dreams.
“We are so pleased and grateful that the airline has introduced the Loganair-Baird Scholarship as a major step in realising our shared dream of assisting Scotland's youth in the memory of the realised personal dreams and contributions of Andrew Blain Baird - on this the 150th anniversary of his birth.”
The Baird of Bute Society also launched its first publication, ‘Andrew Blain Baird – Aviation Pioneer’ at the civic reception in the Victoria Hotel on Friday night.
Available from the society, the book chronicles the life of Andrew Blain Baird and features introductions by his grandson, Andrew Baird III, and local MSP Mike Russell, who attended the weekend celebrations and is a member of the society.
The Baird of Bute Society promotes educational activities to honour Baird's achievements, maintains a Baird of Bute website: www.bairdofbute.com, collects and maintains a display of Baird-related historical memorabilia, offers awards and scholarships to promote creativity and entrepreneurial activities and authors, publishes and distributes information relating to Andrew Baird.
The Society’s motto is “to inspire to aspire” and its singular focus is to use Baird’s example to inspire and assist the youth of Scotland to aspire to greatness in their lives.
For information relating to the Baird of Bute Festival or the society contact Christopher Markwell at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 01700 502256. For further information on Scott Grier and Loganair contact Peter Carroll at The Big Partnership on 0141 333 9585/07950531199.