The great and the good who make Glasgow thrive like no other city have been celebrated at The Herald’s first Inspiring City Awards.
Hosted in conjunction with the city’s new brand – People Make Glasgow – and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, the awards went to those who have played a major role in influencing the growth and prosperity of Scotland’s largest city.
Key figures in arts and culture, industry, business and sport gathered last night to celebrate what – and who – makes Glasgow tick.
Football legend Sir Alex Ferguson was named the winner of the The People Make Glasgow Award at the event at the Glasgow Hilton, with entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter recognised for his Lifetime Achievement.
Ventures as diverse as Glasgow Lunchtime Theatre’s A Play A Pie and a Pint and the Glasgow Bike Station, the city’s largest recycling project, were singled out for their impact, with those who have given their time to support young people also being hailed for their contributions.
Professor Seona Reid, director of Glasgow School of Art, was recognised for her contribution to education in the city with Sir Jim McDonald, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, honoured for his outstanding contribution as a business leader.
The awards were organised to coincide with the 230th anniversary of both the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and The Herald.
Sir Tom, in a speech last night, praised the city for its contribution to industry and entrepreneurship, and looked back to Glasgow’s Victorian merchants to highlight its influence on the world.
He also looked at the impact of Glasgow University, touching on an essay that looked at its role in the Enlightenment. The university was praised as a “hotbed of genius, which was appropriated by Edinburgh, and had its intellectual foundations in the work of Glasgow. Glasgow led; Edinburgh followed.”
Sir Tom said that Glasgow’s role in shaping Scotland and the world should be taught in schools. “Let’s sort that,” he told those who had gathered.
The entrepreneur and philanthropist added: “Glasgow has an incredible history… John Logie Baird gave us the TV, Billy Connolly probably the best humour ever, from Sir William Burrell, an industrialist and fellow philanthropist to Carnegie, Rennie Mackintosh – exceptional architecture – the list goes on.
“We are constantly building businesses and creating opportunities.”
Sir Tom also praised the regeneration of Glasgow, and the economic lever of the Commonwealth Games, but warned that poverty remained a “stubborn issue” for the city – reflected, in part, by 37 food and clothing banks – that its people must pull together to help eradicate. He added: “I am resolutely of the glass half full, actually I think it is three quarters full, and we in the room have the power to change Scotland.
“Business is the lifeblood of any economy and looking around this room tonight I see confidence in our future, I see opportunity for growth and a commitment to delivering it.”
Magnus Llewellin, editor of The Herald, said: “These awards celebrate all that is great about Glasgow and we are delighted they have been such a success. The number and quality of entries illustrated the incredible work that is being done here – day in, day out – and picking the winners was by no means easy.”
Councillor Gordon Matheson, the Leader of Glasgow City Council, added: “The inaugural Inspiring City Awards were a fantastic celebration of the many remarkable individuals, businesses and organisations that help make Glasgow the exceptional city
that it is.
“Over the years Glasgow has been transformed thanks to the hard work of many people – from local community activists through to those enhancing the city’s reputation internationally – and these awards were a reflection of that.”