A Renfrewshire-raised athletics and business chief talked sport with the Princess Royal as she presented him with his MBE.

Ian Beattie, the chief operating officer of leading Scottish legal firm Lindsays, was awarded the honour for services to athletics.

The accolade follows a long competitive and voluntary career in the sport, which entered a new chapter as he became chair of UK Athletics in October. He held the same role at scottishathletics for nine years.

His award was announced in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours and presented by Princess Anne during a ceremony at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh last week.

Ian, who was accompanied by wife Sandra, said: “It was a really nice occasion. I was proud to be there.

“As a former Olympian, the princess is obviously an accomplished sportswoman and was genuinely interested as we chatted about athletics, including my new role at UK Athletics.

“It was really enjoyable to be there and to chat with the other recipients too. People have been kind enough to make some really nice comments.”

Brought up in Kilbarchan, where his parents William and Margaret still live, Ian was a pupil of Kilbarchan Primary School from 1970 to 1977, then Merksworth High School, Paisley, from 1977 to 1982 before studying accountancy at Glasgow University from 1982 until 1986.

In his role as Chief Operating Officer at Lindsays, Ian – a chartered accountant and member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) – is responsible for the firm’s financial and operational performance. Lindsays has expanded significantly in recent years through mergers with smaller firms, and Ian has a responsibility for their integration into Lindsays’ model.

As well as having been a member and coach of a number of athletics clubs, he is also Race Director of the West Highland Way Race.

Mr Beattie, who is also a former board member of mental health charity SAMH, added: “While my MBE is for services to athletics, I believe that my history and understanding of sport has been an important driver in my approach to business and managing staff.

“An interesting aspect of my work has been to highlight  the link between physical health, mental health and professional productivity. The impact of coronavirus has only increased the importance in all companies doing so.”

Colleagues at Lindsays have congratulated him on his presentation.