Alumnus receives Royal recognition



Iain Nairn

A Heriot-Watt alumnus has been recognised with an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Iain Nairn, a BA Management graduate from the Class of 2002, was awarded the honour for services to physical disabilities cricket.

After suffering a birth deformity, resulting in amputation of his lower leg at 16-months of age, Iain has worked hard throughout his life to overcome this setback. He developed a passion for cricket and became a central figure in the sport having joined the England Physical Disabilities squad in 2012. In just two years, he was appointed Captain and led the team to a victory in the first international Physical Disabilities Cricket tournament in 2015.

Retirement opened a new chapter in Iain’s cricket career with him moving away from the crease to become an ambassador for the sport. In this role, Iain has helped boost interest in disabilities cricket and widening participation.

His contribution has now been recognised in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours List although, Iain admits, the news came as a complete surprise.

“All I did was live my dream of playing cricket for England and to wear the three lions, to sing the national anthem.” he said.

“To be recognised with an MBE was beyond words.

“MBEs are awarded for service that sets an example to others, I'm told. I always tried to do that. I saw captaincy as a role of service to the team. I don't take positive reviews of my performance comfortably. I didn't think that I'd done anything special, but it appears someone else thinks otherwise and I'm very grateful, incredibly proud and humbled.”

He adds: “Physical Disability cricket didn't exist when I was growing up. The first international only took place in 2012, shortly before the London Paralympics. Since then it has come on leaps and bounds, with the standard of play reaching new levels in the last World Cup in 2019.

“All of those involved in the game have a big task on their hands as they try to bring it to the level it was before Covid struck and I would love to do something to help. I hope that we will get to see the England disability teams in action on the international stage again soon. With support from family and friends I'm still managing to come out on top. Perhaps that’s why I do the job I do, helping others overcome setbacks in their lives.”

Kerryn Kirkpatrick, Head of Development and Alumni at Heriot-Watt, said: “I’m thrilled to see Iain and his remarkable achievements celebrated. As an institution with a long heritage of pioneering access to education, we are immensely proud that such an inspirational alumnus has been recognised in this way.”

To find out more about the University's commitment to pioneering access to education and the 1821 Appeal, which is raising funds in support of projects to improve access, inclusion, diversity and equality, visit the webpage.


Craig McManamon

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Communications officer