IT FEELS like a lifetime ago, but Dr Corinne Hutton had her sparkle on and was ready to party when she heard she was a finalist in the Glasgow Times Scotswoman of the Year awards.
“We were all set for the event on March 26, and then – everything stopped,” says the founder of amputee support charity Finding Your Feet.
“Of course it was a disappointment, but all I missed out on was a glamorous party. I’m safe and well and working, and feel very fortunate compared to so many people this year….”
Today, in association with St Enoch Centre, we launch our search for the 2020 Glasgow Times Scotswoman of the Year.
We are looking for nominations for women who have made an outstanding contribution to Scottish society, in any field, from any part of the country.
It has been a year like no other, of course, with the coronavirus pandemic impacting upon everyone’s lives here in Scotland and around the world.
Who has impressed, inspired or entertained you over the past 12 months?
We are also looking for nominations for Young SWOTY, our annual award which recognises the achievements of girls and young women aged between 12 and 21.
You can nominate on our website here – newsquestscotlandevents.com/events/swoty/ – or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling in the cut-out form below and posting it to us.
A judging panel will draw up shortlists for both awards. The winner of Young SWOTY will be decided by public vote.
Anne Ledgerwood, General Manager of St Enoch Centre, said: “We always look forward to supporting Glasgow Times’ Scotswoman of the Year Awards and after such a challenging year, we are especially excited to be celebrating the incredible women of Scotland. Many women have played an invaluable role in Scotland during the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrating the classic traits of hope and determination, and these awards are the perfect way to recognise their achievements.”
Corinne Hutton admits 2020 has been a tough year for the charity she set up to support amputees following her own quadruple amputation in 2013.
“Back in March, I was quite low – I was worried about what lockdown would mean for the charity, I was worried about the Troopers, money – I was struggling,” she says.
“Also, I had to shield and that was a strange experience for me, having other people getting my shopping for me. It was incredibly kind, but it felt – disabling. I’m not used to that. I like being independent.”
The Lochwinnoch businesswoman, who has a son, Rory, lost her hands and feet to sepsis after contracting pneumonia. Realising very little support existed for people who have experienced limb loss, she set up Finding Your Feet to help reduce the social isolation many feel as a result of amputation. The charity has since raised more than £1.2m, and has developed a range of support networks and activities for its members, called Troopers, and their families at the time they needed it most.
In addition, Corinne has set four world records, including becoming the first female quadruple amputee to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. In 2018, she became the first Scottish double hand transplant recipient.
She has received an honorary doctorate from the Open University, launched a hard-hitting campaign to raise awareness of sepsis and earlier this year was named in the UK’s Power 100 of people with disabilities.
“It is a real honour and a compliment to receive awards like SWOTY and the Power 100, but I don’t do this for awards,” she says, simply.
“It is nice recognition for the charity though, and the guys who do the real hard work.
“The whole point of everything we do is to get people out of isolation and literally overnight, we could not do our job. So, like everyone else, we had to adapt quickly.”
The charity now has around 14 of its clubs up and running online, it has managed to hold virtual fundraising events and fitness classes, and the team has made more than 3000 calls to Troopers who do not have online access.
“It is not over yet – I worry about winter, and how more restrictions will affect people’s state of mind,” says Corinne. “Also, any chance of fundraising has disappeared again. So there are tough times ahead.”
Corinne and Rory did manage some fun once restrictions restricted.
“I got back on the bike again,” says Corinne, her eyes gleaming. “I love motorbikes. Rory and I did some dirt track biking and it was great. He’s very careful though. Not like me at all.”
Looking ahead, Corinne wishes her successor well.
“Winning awards and getting the charity’s name out there is what I’m there for – it’s my job,” she smiles. “And SWOTY has helped me to do that. It’s a lovely thing, SWOTY – a real ray of sunshine in the darkness.