Gordon Aikman Lecture Theatre officially opened with memorial lecture by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown

The newly renamed Gordon Aikman Lecture Theatre was officially opened on Wednesday 10 October, by former Prime Minister and University of Edinburgh alumnus Gordon Brown.

Previously known as George Square Lecture Theatre, the building was renamed in honour of the late University of Edinburgh alumnus Gordon Aikman, who died in February 2017 from a terminal neurodegenerative condition, Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

The Business School graduate had raised over £500,000 for MND research funding before passing away at the early age of 31. Mr Aikman was also a press officer and researcher at Holyrood for the Labour Party.

With particular regards to MND, Mr Aikman played a pivotal part in campaigning for legislation that puts a legal duty on NHS Scotland to provide equipment and support to patients who lose their voices through many conditions, including MND.

Originally from Kirkaldy, Gordon Aikman was awarded an honorary doctorate from the university, as well as a British Empire Medal before his death.

Mr Brown, also a university alumnus from Kirkaldy, gave an honorary speech after an introduction from Mr Aikman’s husband Joe Pike.

In paying tribute to Gordon, the former Prime Minister included a reference to his successful ‘Flash Gordon’ campaign for a Vice President Sabbatical Officer position at the Edinburgh University Students’ Association.

Mr Brown spoke on the topic of inequality, both across the UK and specifically in Kirkaldy — a matter that Mr Aikman had campaigned against during his life. Following a discussion on global cooperation and interdependence, he participated in a question and answer session.

Audience members also heard from the Neurology Society and the Edinburgh Nightline service.

Closing remarks were delivered by Mr Aikman’s neurologist before the plaque commemorating Mr Aikman was uncovered.

Mr Aikman’s mother, sister and husband joined University of Edinburgh Principal Peter Mathieson, along with Mr Brown, for the unveiling of the plaque. The university had agreed to the renaming of the former George Square Lecture Theatre back in February after a campaign run by the Students’ Association.

Image: Neil Hanna

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