Poetry-loving politician Annabel Goldie has talked her way into a prestigious award.
The Bishopton woman has been presented with an Honorary Membership of the Robert Burns Guild of Speakers.
Ms Goldie, who represents the West of Scotland as a list MSP, collected the award from Dean of the Guild, Leonard Murray – making this year’s Burns Day celebrations extra special for the Tory stalwart.
The award has been made ‘in recognition of the promotion and protection of the works of Robert Burns and for setting and maintaining the highest standards in public speaking.’
Ms Goldie told the Paisley Daily Express: “I feel very honoured to be nominated for honorary membership of the Guild.
“I have never considered myself to be particularly accomplished at speaking at Burns Suppers. I just prattle away and enjoy the social occasion!
“I applaud the positive and desirable objectives of the Guild.”
Founded early last year, The Guild is affiliated to the Robert Burns World Federation and has the status of a Burns Club.
Guild membership is limited to 37 – symbolic of the age of Burns when he died on July 21, 1796 – and is by invitation only.
Mr Murray has been Dean of the Guild since its formation and is a public speaker of international renown.
With a comprehensive knowledge of Burns and his works, he has the unique distinction of having spoken about the poet on five continents.
In his diary already for this year are visits to the Calgary Burns Club and a Burns Toast in a Middle East Embassy.
Ms Goldie was Leader of the Scottish Conservatives from 2005 until 2011.
She is a director of the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust, a Fellow of the University of Strathclyde, a member of the Salvation Army West Scotland Advisory Board, an elder in the Church of Scotland and a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Renfrewshire.
Burns was born in Alloway, South Ayrshire, on January 25, 1759, and was the eldest of seven siblings.
Today marks the 253rd anniversary of the Bard’s birth and he remains popular with poetry and music lovers across the world.
Among his most famous works are Auld Lang Syne, A Red, Red Rose, A Man’s A Man for A’ That, To a Mouse, Tam o’ Shanter and Ae Fond Kiss.