Paths for All’s Chief Officer, awarded CBE in UK Honours 2019

Ian Findlay's passion for health and the outdoors has earned him a spot in the UK Honours list

Ian Findlay

We are overjoyed to congratulate Ian Findlay our Chief Officer, on receiving a CBE in the UK Honours list for services to healthy lifestyles and outdoor activities.

Ian is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast, his genuine passion for nature and respect for Scotland’s countryside has led him to pursue a career spanning 35 years.

Ian is widely respected in the third sector. His personal values of responsibility, respect and care for each other and for our environment are evident in his career achievements, influence and personal voluntary activities.

Ian who is now Chief Officer of Scottish Charity Paths for All, started his career as a countryside ranger in the highlands. He has worked extensively making a valuable contribution in the environment sector, including roles at the Nature Conservancy Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

His leadership of Paths for All has spanned 16 years, and has seen our charity grow and flourish. Firstly, he oversaw Paths for All’s instrumental input into the smooth implementation of Scotland’s world leading access legislation.

From there he has led the charity to diversify and grow, and it now spans projects which enhance Scotland’s health and environment. In particular, promoting the transformative effect of simple everyday walking on the health and wellbeing of our population.

Our expertise in this area led to Paths for All being asked to lead on the development of Scotland’s first National Walking Strategy. Ian is a respected voice championing walking and active travel as the way to a healthier happier Scotland for everyone, everyday and everywhere.

In addition to his immense contribution throughout his career, Ian’s voluntary and personal activities are equally significant and important to him.

Ian has been generous with his time and expertise over the last 20 years serving as a Trustee for a range of charities, such as Comrie Development Trust, Scottish Environment LINK, of which he is a Fellow, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Countryside Trust and is Vice Convener of ACOSVO. In his personal life Ian spent 5 years in the Assynt Mountain Rescue team and, along with his wife and daughter, was a foster carer for almost 10 years.

Marcus Sangster, Chair of Paths for All’s Board of Directors commented:

All the Directors of Paths for All are delighted by Ian’s good news, and I know that this honour is greatly welcomed by all of our 30 partner organisations. Ian is always willing to give credit to others and rarely puts himself forward, so I am really pleased that his outstanding contribution, not only to Paths for All but to the voluntary sector more widely in Scotland, has been recognised.

On hearing the good news, Ian commented:

“This wonderful honour has come as a complete shock to me!  However, I’m delighted, humbled, honoured, excited, inspired all in equal measure.

"I am truly thrilled to be recognised in this way for achievements in my work, voluntary and personal life.  Paths for All has been a fundamentally important part of my journey, as too have the many other charities, such as ACOSVO, with which I’ve been associated.  There are so many people - colleagues, directors, volunteers and friends - who I’ve worked with throughout my career who I’d like to thank, not to mention my amazing family.  There are too many to name, but you know who you are!  In a sense, I‘d like to share this honour with you.

"Looking forward, it is my hope and intention that the honour will help to make what I do and believe in even more impactful.  I fundamentally believe our health and the health of our environment are intrinsically linked and that outdoor activity is key to our health, well-being and happiness and to nurturing a sense of connection, responsibility, respect and care for our environment.”

Pat Armstrong OBE, Chief Executive, ACOSVO also commented: “As a long standing member of ACOSVO’s Board of Trustees, Ian encapsulates our vision of “excellent third sector leadership in Scotland”.

"He has been a huge support to both the organisation and to me personally, and has always been very generous in sharing his wisdom, skills, knowledge, and experience with his peers. Through his leadership of Paths for All he has made a huge difference in championing everyday walking for a happier, healthier workforce and Scotland.

I am absolutely thrilled that his contribution has been recognised with a well-deserved CBE.”