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Herald Editor Harry Reid, a judge in this year's awards, presented Lord Mc Cluskey with an oil painting to thank him for his years of dedication.

Mr Reid said: ''It is a genuine privilege for me, on behalf of the editors' committee of the Scottish Daily Newspaper Society, to thank John Mc Cluskey for his unstinting support of the Bank of Scotland Press Awards over a period of more than 18 years.

HERALD financial writer Simon Bain made history yesterday when he jointly won the coveted title of Journalist of the Year with Ian Bell of the Scotsman at the Bank of Scotland Press Awards.

At a ceremony in Glasgow, hosted by television presenter Kaye Adams and attended by representatives of Scotland's press, he also scooped the title of Financial/Business Writer of the Year.

More than 300 people entered 16 categories in the awards, and there were 72 nominations on the short-list.

The millennium event was a particularly moving occasion for Lord Mc Cluskey, who is retiring after 18 years as chairman of the awards judging panel.

"Crews throughout Scotland provide advice and support in their communities but reaching those who are at highest risk from fire is a constant challenge and firefighters want the public to put them in touch with anyone who could be vulnerable." Free home fire safety visits are available by calling the freephone number 08, by texting ‘FIRE’ to 80800 or by filling in an online form at