SIR George Reid, the veteran Nationalist and former Holyrood Presiding Officer may be 74 and recuperating from cancer surgery but he revealed that he is considering a fresh career.

Speaking after he was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at The Herald Scottish Politician of the Year Awards 2013 last night, Sir George sent a video message apologising to guests that he could not come "out to play".

Speaking from his home in Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, Sir George said: "I am honoured to receive this award because it comes from Scotland's journalists, of whom I was one for 12 years."

He said the skills he learned then stood him in good stead in politics and in wars and disasters for his work with the International Red Cross.

But in recent years, Sir George had been forced to keep silent on issues for the sake of impartiality, given his role with the Electoral Commission and work for Stormont and the Welsh Assembly.

Sir George has served as an MP and MSP, most recently for Ochil in Clackmannanshire between 2003 and 2007, and is no stranger to winning awards at the event.

He was named The Herald Scottish Politician of the Year at the awards in 2003 and 2005.

He said: "Now that I have had to give up public appointments, it may be that I can start next year having opinions again.

"It may be that I can go back to where I began as a scribbler, scribbling not about personal achievement but maybe about facilitation, about transition, about the great events at home and abroad over the past 50 years that I have seen close up and all seen from a Scottish perspective.

"Watch this space. My thanks most sincerely to all of you again for the award and have a cracking good evening."

Sir George has worked as a broadcast journalist and producer for the BBC, Granada Television and STV and as a journalist for several newspapers.

He interrupted his journalistic career to become an SNP MP from 1974-79.

He produced Michael Buerk's famous BBC coverage of Ethiopian famine in 1984 - coverage that led to the Band Aid and Live Aid campaigns - and this brought him an invitation to join the International Red Cross, based in Geneva but travelling to wars and natural disasters.

With the Scottish Parliament on the horizon, he returned to politics and served two terms at Holyrood, the second as Presiding Officer, a period when he was twice honoured as The Herald Scottish Politician of the Year.

He was also an independent adviser on the Scottish Ministerial Code between 2008 and 2011.

Since retiring from Holyrood in 2007, Sir George has held a number of public appointments and served on the EU's Caucasus-Caspian diplomatic mission.

He also undertook a major review for the National Trust for Scotland, served as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and was knighted last year.

Now, having resigned all public appointments on health grounds, he is preparing to enter the debating fray once more.

Among the posts he had to step down from was his involvement with the Electoral Commission.

He also stepped down as a trustee of Glasgow Life and chairman of Alloa Community Enterprises.

In February this year, the former politician travelled to Buckingham Palace to receive a knighthood from The Prince of Wales.

He was honoured for his services to Scottish politics and public life.

However, Sir George has insisted that he, and his wife Lady Daphne, continue to be addressed by their first names.