Edinburgh accountancy student, Peter Sawkins, was crowned the youngest ever – and first Scottish – winner of the Great British Bake Off last year.
On Thursday evening the 21-year-old star baker was made an Honorary Burgess of his home city at a special civic reception hosted by the Rt Hon Lord Provost at the City Chambers.
Peter, who attended Currie Community High School, where he was head boy, was joined by friends and family at the evening celebration.
The fourth-year Edinburgh University student first heard the news he was to be made an Honorary Burgess back in January, but with Covid restrictions it’s only now been possible to hold the ceremony in person.
Peter said: “I felt surprised and honoured to hear that I was to become an Honorary Burgess. The support from people in Edinburgh through the airing of Bake Off and beyond has been a great encouragement to me, and for that, I am very grateful.”
He was presented with a certificate commemorating his new role as Honorary Burgess by Edinburgh’s Lord Provost.
Lord Provost Frank Ross said: “Peter won a legion of fans both here at home in Edinburgh and all over the country when he baked his way to triumph on last year’s series of the Great British Bake Off. Watching him clinch victory as the first Scottish and youngest ever winner of the show was a proud moment for Edinburgh viewers and it was perhaps especially uplifting given the tough times we’ve all faced during the pandemic.
“I’m delighted to present our very own Star Baker Peter with his Honorary Burgess certificate tonight as a further sign of the city’s admiration for what he’s achieved.”
Don S.F. Young DL, President of the Edinburgh Burgess Association, said: “The Edinburgh Burgess Association is honoured to be able to recognise Edinburgh’s, and indeed the UK’s, finest Baxters (Scots for baker). Peter has made a wonderful contribution to the nation’s enjoyment and entertainment during, for many, a very difficult time and set the bar very high indeed for all amateur bakers. I look forward to sampling some fine examples of his work.”
Burgess-ship in Edinburgh is reported to date back to at least 1406, at which time it was a necessity to become a Burgess if you wanted to earn a living in the city. Today, Burgess-ship is conferred by the Council under delegated authority. The Burgess Association’s objective is to “join the Burgesses together on equal terms in a social setting to gain knowledge of and support the best aspirations, traditions and institutions of Edinburgh.
Burgesses have been created in Edinburgh’s Royal Burgh since the early 1400s. To be a Burgess was to be a Free Citizen of the City. This marked the social status and standing of the great people in the city.
A famous Edinburgh son who received honorary Burgess-ship was the late Sir Sean Connery.
To be a Burgess has traditionally been via membership of the Merchants or Trades.
The Burgess Association, which is just a few years old, was created as a platform for these ancient Edinburgh bodies to come together with the City in a more effective manner.