Kirsty Wark and John Murtagh join RBHA judging panel - and call for nominations

 23 November 2016  |  

RBHA - Still time to nominate

RBHA - Still time to nominate

Broadcaster Kirsty Wark and actor John Murtagh are reminding people they have just one week left to put forward nominations as they join the judging panel for the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award (RBHA).

The award – supported by South Ayrshire Council and Scotland's Winter Festivals as part of the Alloway 1759 celebrations – recognises courage, commitment, inspiration and hands-on humanitarian efforts from people of any nationality, race, age or gender.Nominations for those who have saved, improved or enriched the lives of others or society as a whole, through personal self-sacrifice, selfless service or direct humanitarian work can be submitted until 4pm on 30 November. 

Nominations are considered by the judging panel, which is chaired by Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council and now includes well-known faces Kirsty and John. 

Also joining the panel this year is Heather Armstrong ¬– student, sabbatical officer and President for Societies and Citizenship at the Students' Association of the University of the West of Scotland. 

The other judges on the panel are Jane Brown – Past President of the Robert Burns World Federation; John Duncan QPM – Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire and Arran; David Hopes - Director of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum; Rob Woodward – Chief Executive of STV and former RBHA winners Habib Malik and Guy Willoughby.

Bill McIntosh said: "It's a pleasure and a privilege to welcome Kirsty, John and Heather to the panel, but I have to warn them they will have some difficult decisions ahead. The calibre of the nominees is always second to none and trying to differentiate between them can be almost impossible at times.

"I look forward to their input into the judging process, which will help ensure we pick another worthy winner who deserves to follow in Burns' footsteps and those of our previous winners."

The winner of the RBHA receives the equivalent of 1759 guineas (approximately £1,800) – a sum which signifies the year of the Bard's birth and the coinage then in circulation.

The 2016 winner was David Nott – a life-saving British doctor known as the 'Indiana Jones of surgery', who literally had to dodge bombs and stare down the barrel of a gun while he worked to save lives.

David has taken his skills and experience and established the David Nott Foundation – a UK registered charity that provides surgeons and medical professionals with the skills they need to provide relief and assistance in conflict and natural disaster zones around the world.

Kirsty Wark said:  "It is a great honour to be asked to judge this award. Last year's recipient was such an exceptional inspirational human being ¬– the bar is set very high. I hope to see as many quality nominations come in as possible before the deadline."

John Murtagh added: "Robert Burns was an ordinary, extraordinary man but there are many unsung heroines and heroes in ordinary life, so please take the time to nominate now before it's too late".

Nominations for the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2017 can be submitted until 4pm on Wednesday 30 November at