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Scots Independent

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Features - The Oliver Brown Award
Dr Colin Bell

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Dr Colin BellFormer Scots Independent Editor, Dr Colin J Bell, journalist, broadcaster and author, was the 13th Scot to be presented with the Oliver Brown Award at an enjoyable lunch in the Terraces Hotel, Stirling on Saturday 8 June 1996.

It was appropriate that Colin Bell should receive the award he had named! As Editor, when Director Dr James C Lees originally proposed that the SI should make an annual award, Colin Bell suggested both the criteria and the name of the Award. An Award that he fully merited.

An outstanding journalist, with newspapers such as The Scotsman, he made the transition to broadcasting with Radio Scotland in 1984.

Prior to his peerless contribution to Scottish Life as a broadcaster, Colin Bell had given unstinted service to the Scottish National Party as Executive Vice-Chairmam, 1978-1984 and Campaign Director, Euro elections 1984. In 1974 he stood as SNP Parliamentary Candidate for West Edinburgh and also European Parliamentary Candidate for North East Scotland. He served as Rector of Aberdeen University from 1991 to 1993.

The undernoted report of the presentation to Dr Colin J Bell appeared in the July 1996 issue of the Scots Independent.

He was, Colin Bell counted, the 13th recipient: so who knew what might happen. In the event, it was perhaps the warmest and merriest occasion to date — again in Stirling’s Terraces Hotel. Kenneth Fee hoped his editorial predecessor had not become too distingué to recognise the genuine expression of political affection and acknowledgment of the highest-quality broadcasting he had generated for his nation. Colin’s statutorily astringent response could not mask his affection for the paper, the occasion and its guests — although he regretted the SI’s current anti-BBC campaigning — Auntie couldn’t be all that bad if she had provided so many previous Oliver Award winners — Mary Marquis, Jimmy MacGregor (who was among the guests to-day), Muriel Gray, John Purser .... He hoped the independence movement was leading our nation now into a more generous-spirited European cultural and political environment.