Tragic Afghanistan aid worker in line for posthumous award

Linda Norgrove was yesterday shortlisted for a posthumous humanitarian award for her "selfless" work in Afghanistan.

The 36-year-old aid worker died during a failed rescue attempt by United States special forces after being seized by militants in the country in September.

Yesterday she was named as one of the final three nominees for the 2011 Robert Burns Humanitarian Award.

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It is presented every year to someone who has "saved, improved or enriched the lives of others or society as a whole".

The winner will receive 1759 guineas, a sum which signifies the year of the bard's birth and the coinage then in circulation, as well as a specially commissioned hand-made award.

Ms Norgrove was kidnapped during an ambush in the Dewagal valley in Kunar province on September 26.

Three local staff taken with her were released unharmed but Ms Norgrove was killed during the rescue mission on October 8.

She was initially said to have died at the hands of her captors but it later emerged a grenade thrown by one of those sent to free her may be to blame. A US military investigation is under way.

The former United Nations employee was working for the firm Development Alternatives Inc.

Based in Jalalabad, Ms Norgrove supervised reconstruction programmes funded by the US government in the eastern region of Afghanistan.

The Norgrove family have set up a charitable foundation, known as the Linda Norgrove Foundation, aimed at continuing her work.

She was nominated by Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan, who said: "I am very pleased that Linda and her family have received this well deserved recognition for the remarkable contribution which Linda made to helping people in dangerous places around the world.

"The Robert Burns Humanitarian Award recognises selfless work of just the kind that Linda championed and ultimately gave her life for."

Also nominated are Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, the founder of charity Mary's Meals, and Madhu Pandit Dasa, who set up the Akshaya Patra Foundation.

The winner will be announced on January 22 at a ceremony at the Burns Museum in Alloway.

The three nominees were selected from a list of submissions by members of the public between September and November this year.