Scotswoman of the Year: Finalists celebrate ahead of the big night

Five of the fabulous finalists in the 2016 Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year award met up for a warm, witty ‘tea party’ ahead of the big night.

Alison Spurway, Laura Young, Michaela Foster Marsh, Selina Hales and Sarah Cleaveland were guests of honour at the informal get-together hosted by Kimbles and our event partner St Enoch Centre.

Our sixth contender for the title, blind Paralympic athlete and double Olympic gold medalwinner Libby Clegg, could not attend due to training commitments.

Libby said: “I’m so sorry not to be there, but I am over the moon to be nominated. It means a lot.”

Professor Cleaveland, nominated for her world-leading research into life-threatening diseases, said: “It was a complete surprise to hear I had been nominated for SWOTY but a wonderful way to start the new year.”

Alison Spurway, who has dedicated more than 50 years to volunteering for Girlguiding Scotland, said: “I am very pleased to be nominated for SWOTY because it helps me to raise the profile of this wonderful organisation, which does so much for girls and young women around the world.”

Teapot Trust founder Laura Young, who set up the art therapy charity following the death of her eight-year-old daughter, said: “Tonight is a lovely opportunity to get to know the team behind SWOTY and to meet all of the incredible finalists.”

Michaela Foster Marsh, who founded Starchild Arts to help Ugandan orphans, said she was overwhelmed by the response she had had to her nomination. “It’s been really lovely, and I’m delighted to be here,” she said.

Selina Hales, nominated for her pioneering initiative Refuweegee, which supports refugees and asylum seekers arriving in Glasgow, agreed: “I’m really proud to be part of SWOTY.”

Evening Times Editor Graham Shields said: “All of our finalists are exceptional and it’s great to be able to showcase the incredible work they do.

“Choosing a winner on the night is always very difficult and this year is no exception.”

Anne Ledgerwood, general manager of St Enoch Centre, said: “We’re very happy and honoured to support SWOTY again. These women are all remarkable, and we’re delighted to showcase and honour their passion, commitment and hard work.”

The winner of Scotswoman of the Year 2016 will be announced on February 23.