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Livery members recognised in Platinum Jubilee Honours List

Celebrating Liverymen Michael Urquhart CBE, Ian Urquhart CBE, Karen Betts OBE and HE Sarah Dickson OBE

Michael and Ian Urquhart have been awarded the honour of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to Scotch Whisky Industry and to charitable work in Moray in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

L – R: Michael and Ian Urquhart

They are both humbled yet surprised to receive this honour, especially in Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee and it reflects not on just them but all those they have worked with in many organisation in the Scotch Whisky industry and other sectors in Scotland over many years.

It is an honour and a pleasure to receive this award in Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee year.

I have had the privilege to lead two successful family-owned Moray companies. They are two very different businesses – single malt Scotch whisky and Scottish cashmere – yet they share a commitment to producing the highest quality iconic products, now exported to over sixty markets throughout the world. None of this would have been possible without the support of my family and the wonderful staff at both Johnstons of Elgin and Gordon & MacPhail who I have worked with over the last fifty years.

As the president of Johnstons of Elgin I continue to play a pivotal role in many local and national charities and organisations and remain a Deputy Lieutenant of Moray. I was delighted recently to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Glasgow Caledonian University and continue to do what I can to promote Scottish business throughout the world.

Ian Urquhart CBE

I am delighted to receive this honour in such a special year for Her Majesty. I like to think this is not mine alone, but recognises the Urquhart family as a whole and our role in building a grocer’s shop in Elgin into a thriving business which exports around the world and is now the owner of two distilleries. Ian and I are only sorry our late brother David is not here to see the family honoured in this way.

None of this, of course, would have been possible without the support and hard work of our wonderful staff at Gordon & MacPhail over the years. And of course I also have to thank my wife Ailsa and our four children for putting up with my almost non stop travelling over the years.

While I may have retired from the family business, I seem to be as busy as ever in the Scotch whisky industry, as Chairman of the Scottish Committee of the Worshipful Company of Distillers and previously in my role with the Keepers of the Quaich and as Chairman of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry in the Highlands and Islands. Combined with my Non Executive Director role at the National Theatre for Scotland and my involvement in the Moray Growth Deal, I seem to find plenty of things to do. All of these roles have involved working with some wonderful people who have supported me on a journey that has been fascinating, occasionally challenging but always rewarding.

Michael Urquhart CBE

Karen Betts has been awarded the honour of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to International Trade.

Karen Betts

As the Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) until 2021, Karen provided outstanding leadership to the Scotch whisky industry and has been a powerful personal advocate of trade opportunities, participating in overseas missions and galvanising her organisation to provide technical support in trade negotiations.

I am delighted to receive this honour. I have had the pleasure to work alongside superb colleagues in the SWA and across the global whisky industry, as well as with committed government officials at home and overseas, and this honour reflects their hard work and creativity as much as my own efforts.

Karen Betts OBE

Her Excellency Liveryman Sarah Dickson, former International Director at the SWA and now, since Aug 2019, British High Commissioner to The Bahamas, was awarded the honour of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to bilateral relations between the UK and The Bahamas and to British Nationals in The Bahamas.

HE Sarah Dickson

We are delighted and proud to share this news with you and offer our heartiest congratulations to Ian, Michael, Karen, and Sarah.