With this proud fanfare, this newspaper’s Scotswoman of the Year celebration arrived on the city calendar in June 1963.
Tonight, almost six decades later, the 58th winner of the prestigious title – in association with St Enoch Centre – will take her place in the hall of fame.
Covid has put paid to the usual celebrations, but our first ever digital SWOTY will take place on the Glasgow Times Facebook page at 7pm – please tune in to join us as we announce the winner of both Scotswoman of the Year and Young Scotswoman of the Year from a spectacular list of candidates.
In the running for Young SWOTY – which is decided by a public vote – are bone cancer survivor and champion fundraiser Katie Pake, 13, awardwinning writer and activist Amanda Amaeshi, 16, inspirational volunteer Roseanna Campbell, 21, superstar cyclist Lusia Steele, 21, and skater Juliana Sweeney-Baird, 18, who is losing her sight.
The contenders for SWOTY 2020 are disability campaigner Linda Bamford; MSP Monica Lennon, who successfully campaigned for the period poverty Bill; Maja and Mirka Jankowska, Clare Boyle and Holly Baxter-Weir of momentous pandemic support campaign NHS Scotland For the Love of Scrubs; Professor Jill Belch who ran the Masks for Scotland appeal; supermodel and activist Eunice Olumide; and Professor Devi Sridhar, inspirational global health expert.
The women who gathered at Glasgow’s Gay Gordon restaurant on June 11, 1963 for that very first awards lunch probably never have imagined that 58 years later the event would still be going strong.
Over the decades, we have marked the achievements of a breathtakingly impressive list of women, from lifesavers to life changers, from business leaders to charity champions, artists to inventors.
Guest speakers have included future Prime Ministers, Scotland’s top entertainers and even royalty – HRH Princess Anne, the Princess Royal attended our silver jubilee.
In recent years we have introduced a second award, Young SWOTY, which pays tribute to young women aged between 12 and 21, who are already making their mark on Scottish society.
The shortlist for our first event was no less impressive than our latest although in common with the now thankfully outdated style of the times, they were listed in our newspaper by their husbands’ names.
‘Mrs Douglas Johnston MBE’ – Bessie Johnston, inspirational Red Cross volunteer – was the eventual winner and she shared the first shortlist with two more future SWOTYs – Isobel Murdoch, founder of Hansel Village; and Dr Nora Wattie, Glasgow’s principal medical officer for maternity and child welfare.
Other well known women in the running that year included Kathleen Garscadden, the BBC’s Auntie Kathleen on Children’s Hour; and artist Anne Redpath, the first female artist to be made a member of the Royal Scottish Academy.
“In every walk of life, Scotswomen are making their mark,” we reported, as we launched the search for our first winner.
“The arts and the sciences, welfare work and businesses all have their quota of women who give of their time and talents towards making Scotland a better country in which to live.”
Some things, at least, never change.
Tune in at 7pm tonight on our Facebook page to see who will be crowned Glasgow Times Scotswoman of the Year and Young Scotswomen of the Year 2020.