Around 250 women from all over the country will gather in the spectacular surroundings of Glasgow City Chambers tonight as the 54th Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year is announced.
The event – supported by our generous partner St Enoch Centre – is the culmination of months of hard work and preparation, with dozens of nominees having been whittled down to a final shortlist.
Last year’s winner, Adele Patrick, founder of Glasgow Women’s Library, will hand over the title to her successor in what promises to be an emotional and uplifting evening featuring guest speaker, the writer and former Makar Liz Lochhead, and music from singer songwriter Horse.
The six finalists include tenacious charity founder Michaela Foster Marsh, who rallied the Scottish arts community and battled crippling red tape in Uganda to help build a school for orphans.
Michaela, from Newlands, said: “It’s really humbling to be nominated for the award – I have seen the exhibition in the St Enoch Centre dedicated to all the previous winners, and I feel really honoured to be nominated alongside them.”
Courageous Laura Young, from Gullane in East Lothian, who overcame the death of her daughter to create an inspirational art therapy service giving countless families across Scotland a lifeline, said she was over the moon to be nominated.
“It was in Glasgow that I first had the idea for the Teapot Trust, so it’s lovely to be put forward for an award so special to the city,” said Laura,
Formidable Alison Spurway, a Girlguiding Scotland volunteer for more than 50 years, who has pioneered many initiatives for disabled girls and young women and blind sprinter Libby Clegg, who overcame illness, injury and bad luck to win two gold medals at the Paralympic Games last summer are also in the running.
“This is a remarkable honour – but I am not exceptional, as so many women give up their time for Girlguiding Scotland,” said Alison, who lives in the west end of Glasgow.
Libby, from the Borders, said: “I feel incredibly proud to be part of SWOTY – it is a lovely event.”
The other two finalists are remarkable Selina Hales, who gave up her job to found the a life-changing refugee welcome project; and world-leading scientist Sarah Cleaveland, whose dedication to the communities she helps fight life-threatening diseases goes way above the day job.
“It’s lovely to be nominated – I’m proud of what we have achieved so far so it’s great to be recognised,” said Selina.
Sarah added: “I’m very touched – it’s a wonderful event and I’m very grateful people have responded so warmly to the work we are doing in Glasgow, which is changing lives in Africa.”
Evening Times Editor Graham Shields said: “Every year, we are impressed and moved by the stories behind our wonderful SWOTY nominees. The judging process is almost impossible as every one of our super six deserves to win the title.
“Tonight’s gala dinner promises to be another emotional and uplifting evening.”