MEET the world-changing women who are in the running to be crowned Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year.
Today we announce our shortlist for the 2018 award, which honours those who have inspired, educated and entertained us over the last 12 months. The winner will be decided by a judging panel and revealed at a glittering gala dinner in the Grand Central Hotel on March 14.
This year, for the first time in the event’s 57-year history, we are presenting a Young Scotswoman of the Year prize. The winner, aged between 12 and 21, will be decided by an online vote – see below for details on how to vote.
SCOTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
As co-founder of Social Bite, Alice Thompson has helped to change the way people think about and respond to homelessness. The social enterprise sandwich shop chain in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen feeds, supports and employs the homeless community through a range of initiatives. She is the driving force behind Social Bite’s Wee Sleep Out and travels the country inspiring young people to get involved in the fight to end homelessness.
Five years ago, at the age of 19, Lucy became the youngest person in Scotland to be diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. Since then, she has opened up her life to raise awareness of this devastating condition and has fought to raise money for a cure – £183,000 and counting. Lucy lives life to the max, refusing to give up, and her positive attitude and determination to support others has touched the hearts of many.
Monica won a landmark victory against the UK government in the Supreme Court after fighting the “same roof” rule – which meant victims of crime were ineligible for compensation if they lived under the same roof as the perpetrator. Monica’s mother attempted to strangle her when she was five years old. By waiving her right to anonymity and speaking up on behalf of victims of violence, she has paved the way to ensure others will not suffer.
Former nurse Gillian invented a revolutionary scale which can weigh seriously ill patients quickly, potentially saving lives. The ground-breaking piece of equipment – the first of its kind in the world – means vital medicines can be administered swiftly, and it has already transformed emergency care around the country. Gillian used her years of experience as a nurse to come up with the idea and her passion for providing the best care to her patients was the driving force behind it.
Jenny cycled around the world in 124 days, smashing the women’s record by a whopping 20 days. She rode 18,000 miles across 16 countries, unsupported, carrying all her kit, and cycling up to 15 hours a day. Jenny faced everything from sub-zero temperatures in Australia and bears in Canada to speeding lorries on the Trans-Siberian Highway. Her incredible achievement is all the more remarkable considering she came late to cycling, and she now travels the country helping to encourage more girls and young women to get into the sport.
YOUNG SCOTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
Vote online at www.eveningtimes.co.uk by clicking beside the name of the person you think should win. Terms and conditions apply.
CHELSEA CAMERON, 20
Chelsea Cameron, from Dundee, wrote a harrowing open letter to her parents, which left no-one in any doubt the devastating impact of drugs on the children of addicts. Within a week, her story had gone viral and she was invited to speak on radio and television across the UK. Throughout 2018, she spoke at many events, appeared on stage alongside First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and launched a mentoring scheme to help build young people’s confidence and self-esteem. Despite the challenges of her childhood, Chelsea excelled at school, where she was made head girl, and she continues to inspire others through her charity work.
SANNA AZIZ, 18
Sanna, from the Borders, is a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, and head of its human rights committee. Having been bullied as a child, she is determined not to be beaten and campaigns tirelessly for equality and inclusion. Sanna is passionate about protecting young people from the kind of experiences she had, and she has become a strong voice in the fight against hate crime across Scotland. She recently won a place on the Jo Cox Memorial Exchange trip to America, where she played an important part in sharing views on social cohesion and equality.
TAYLOR SMITH, 17
Taylor, from Glasgow, is the Scottish, British and World Champion in hip hop dance and a fantastic role model for younger pupils and her peers at Drumchapel High, where she leads the dance team. As well as giving up her time to choreograph routines and support the girls at competitions and national showcase events, Taylor’s work is helping to change perceptions of the Drumchapel community and raising the confidence and self-esteem of its young people. Everyone who knows how hard Taylor works on raising aspirations and teaching young people to love dance, believe she is a real credit to her school, family and the whole community.
MARIA LYLE, 18
Already a multiple World and Paralympic medallist and world record holder, Maria added a European gold and a Commonwealth Games silver to her impressive resume at the Gold Coast last year. The teenager, from Dunbar, inspires many with her determination to overcome the obstacles she faces living with cerebral palsy. Maria also manages to find time to support local charities including East Lothian Special Needs Play Scheme and Support in Mind Scotland. Maria was one of the first British athletes to talk about the mental health stresses involved in dealing with life both on and off the track and she has been widely praised for helping to end the stigma of mental health issues.