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Gordon Lewis Aikman BEM (2 April 1985 – 2 February 2017) was a British political researcher and campaigner. He was Director of Research for the Better Together campaign during the Scottish Independence Referendum[1]. During that campaign he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Mr Aikman successfully lobbied the Scottish Government to double the number of MND nurses in Scotland, and to fund them via the NHS[2]. He also raised more than £500,000 for medical research[3].

Gordon Aikman
Gordon Aikman.jpg
Born(1985-04-02)2 April 1985
Kirkcaldy, Scotland
Died2 February 2017(2017-02-02) (aged 31)
EducationKirkcaldy High School
University of Edinburgh
OccupationPolitical researcher, campaigner

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Gordon Aikman studied at Kirkcaldy High School where he was head boy.[4] He read Business at the University of Edinburgh. In 2007, he was elected as the sabbatical officer responsible for welfare and student societies in the Edinburgh University Students' Association.[5]

Political careerEdit

After graduation, he worked at the Scottish Parliament for the Scottish Labour Party as a researcher and later a press officer.[6] In September 2012, he was appointed as Director of Research[6] for the Better Together campaign in the Scottish Independence Referendum.

MND campaigningEdit

In June 2014, Aikman was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND), also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative neurological condition,[7] having initially complained of a persistent numbness in his fingers. Having received this diagnosis, he quickly launched a "Five-Point Fightback" campaign calling for increased research funding to help find a cure for MND.[8]

His campaign was launched soon after his diagnosis and has drawn support from across the UK political spectrum.[9][10][11]

After meeting Aikman in November 2014, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that there would be a review of motor neurone disease care in Scotland.[12] Sturgeon later announced she was honouring her promise to Aikman and that the NHS in Scotland would begin to fund specialist nursing, and double the number of MND specialist nurses.[13]

FundraisingEdit

By June 2016 Aikman had raised £500,000 towards research into motor neurone disease.[14] In March 2015 the 250,000 mark was broken after an event at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival that featured performances by Frankie Boyle, Stewart Francis and Fred MacAulay generated £25,000 in ticket sales.[15]

WritingEdit

He wrote articles about his campaigning work and personal journey with MND that were published in The Scotsman, Daily Record and The Herald.[16] In 2017, he wrote a monthly column in the Scottish edition of The Sunday Times.[17]

RecognitionEdit

Personal lifeEdit

Aikman was married to Joe Pike,[29] a political journalist for ITV News and author.[30]

Aikman died on 2 February 2017 at the age of 31.[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/feb/03/motor-neurone-disease-campaigner-gordon-aikman-dies-aged-31
  2. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-30706731
  3. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-36460458
  4. ^ Taylor, Marianne (19 December 2015). "Gordon Aikman on living with motor neurone disease and leaving a legacy for fellow sufferers". The Herald. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Gordon Aikman, VPSA (2007/08) and MND campaigner dies". www.eusa.ed.ac.uk (Press release). Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  6. ^ a b Linkedin Profile
  7. ^ "Motor neurone disease is a death sentence". scotsman.com. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Gordon Brown praises 'courageous' motor neurone disease campaigner". STV News. 14 July 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Wetter Together: Alistair Darling dares Alex Salmond to take Ice Bucket Challenge". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  10. ^ "'I'll be in a wheelchair by Christmas': why the Ice Bucket Challenge matters". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Better Together shade the win in penalty shoot-out for charity". heraldscotland.com. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Sturgeon agrees to motor neurone disease care review". 25 November 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2017 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  13. ^ "NHS to fund specialist MND nurses". 7 January 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2017 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  14. ^ "Gordon Aikman surpasses £500,000 mark in MND fundraising drive". The Herald. 6 June 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  15. ^ "Frankie Boyle, Des Clarke and Burnistoun stars help MND sufferer smash fundraising target". Evening Times. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  16. ^ "Agenda: A welcome investment that will transform the lives of motor neurone disease patients like me". heraldscotland.com. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  17. ^ "Pushed to the limit on a pilgrimage to Capitol Hill – The Sunday Times". thesundaytimes.co.uk. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  18. ^ "Sturgeon named politician of year". BBC News. 2014-11-21. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  19. ^ Keenan, Amanda (2015-05-17). "Our Heroes 2015: Inspirational pair win top honour on emotional night". dailyrecord. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  20. ^ "MND campaigner Gordon Aikman gets honorary degree". scotsman.com. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  21. ^ Joe Pike (5 July 2015). "Gordon Aikman's message to Edinburgh medical graduates as he receives honorary degree". Retrieved 3 February 2017 – via YouTube.
  22. ^ "Kingdom FM Award at The Kingdom FM Local Hero Awards 2015". 2 September 2015 – via YouTube.
  23. ^ http://herald-events.com/politicianawards/shortlist
  24. ^ "Motor Neurone Disease patient and campaigner Gordon Aikman will be awarded the British Empire Medal by the Lord Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen. The 30 year old is to be honoured for his services to Motor Neurone – The Courier". The Courier. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  25. ^ "The Scotsman – Scottish News". The Scotsman. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  26. ^ "Scottish Press Awards Success | News UK". www.news.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  27. ^ "Gordon Aikman wins top award for his MND campaigning". www.scotsman.com. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  28. ^ "Former PM to speak at memorial lecture". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  29. ^ "MND campaigner Gordon Aikman on love, marriage and terminal illness". heraldscotland.com. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  30. ^ "A cautionary tale". wingsoverscotland.com. 21 September 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2017.