SCOTLAND'S first black university professor has been knighted for his services to human rights, science and charity.

Professor Geoffrey Palmer, a brewing and cereals expert, who is a professor emeritus at Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University, is also an anti-racism campaigner.

Born Godfrey Palmer in Jamaica, the 73-year-old, who lives in the village of Penicuik, in Midlothian, invented a technique that speeded up the production of malt from grain which became an industry standard.

"It is a surprise and an honour which is due to the large numbers of people who have helped me over the years since I arrived from Jamaica in 1955," he said. "It shows what you can achieve with the help of good people, modest ability and hard work."

Mr Palmer was 14 when he came to London and was going to leave school when he turned 15, but his expertise at cricket secured him a place at a local grammar school where he began to study academically.