Humanist celebrant receives the Gordon Ross award for humanism

May 16, 2016

HSS Registered Celebrant Dr Bob Scott has been honoured as the first recipient of the new Gordon Ross Award.

Dr Bob Scott said he was 'privileged' to receive the Award. HSS (c)
Dr Bob Scott said he felt ‘privileged’ to receive the Award.

Speaking after receiving the Award, Dr Bob Scott said:

“It is beyond doubt that anything I might have achieved during my time with the HSS has been the result of a team effort. Administrative staff, colleagues, the “Catalytic Converters”, trainers, assessors, mentors, fellow celebrants…you name it or them… all have been an essential part in helping with any developments. Without that input nothing, absolutely nothing – zilch, rein, nada – 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.”

The late Gordon Ross, in whose memory the Award is given, was a former Treasurer of HSS
The late Gordon Ross, in whose memory the Award is given, was a former Treasurer of HSS

Gordon Ross suffered from a number of health problems, and sadly died in January 2016.

Gordon played an important part in the development of Humanist Society Scotland in several roles, serving as Treasurer during the crucial period of incorporation in 2010, an HSS Registered Celebrant and also National Ceremonies Officer (the most senior elected position for HSS Registered Celebrants).

Following the defeat of the Assisted Suicide Bill on 27th May 2015, Gordon Ross unsuccessfully tried to launch a Judicial Review calling for the Lord Advocate to bring forward prosecution guidance to provide greater clarity of what charges might be brought an individual who assists someone who is terminally ill and unable to take their own life to commit suicide.

In December 2015 Gordon launched an appeal at the Court of Session to overturn this decision, however this 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 has played a key role in some of the society’s major campaigns, such as our support for assisted dying and the development of our partnership project with the Association for Secular Humanism in Malawi.

“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.

“Bob, like Gordon, made a huge contribution to the public debate on these complex ethical issues. Drawing from his own wealth of experience in medical practice, Bob was able to present these challenging issues with understanding and respect, but also a strong force of intellect and conviction.

“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.”

Notes: For more information or comment contact Gary McLelland on or 07813060713.

Humanist Society Scotland seeks to represent the views of people in Scotland who wish to lead ethical and fulfilling lives guided by reason, empathy and compassion. We provide a range of non-religious ceremonies and campaign for a secular state. HSS has over 14,000 members across Scotland.

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