Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Glasgow - One Year On!

Here's a post from the blog site from this time last year, but who remembers what happened next with the Evening Times Award for Scotswoman of the Year 2018?


Scotswoman of the Year 2018 (25/02/19)

I dropped the editor of the Evening Times (Donald Martin) a note to ask when the shortlist would be announced for 'Scotswoman of the Year 2018'

Here's how the announcement was reported last year and with just over two weeks to go until the Award ceremony on 14 March 2018 I imagine things are pretty hectic behind the scenes.

Good luck to Frances Stojilkovic who has been nominated by lots of readers of this blog- and by me!


25th January 2018
Scotswoman of the Year 2017: Last two finalists announced

By Ann Fotheringham @FotheringhamHT - Evening Times

IT IS time to meet the final two candidates on our Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year 2017 shortlist.

So far, we have revealed that forensic anthropologist Professor Dame Sue Black, broadcaster and Playlist for Life founder Sally Magnusson, wheelchair athlete Sammi Kinghorn and equal rights activist Suki Sangha are all in contention for the prestigious title.

Today we announce the remaining two finalists. The winner will be crowned at a gala awards dinner in the City Chambers, supported by our event partner St Enoch Centre, on February 15.


Renfrewshire teacher Arlene set up the charity Brightest Star after her son Jack died, six days before his sixth birthday.

She wanted to help other parents, with counselling, with respite care and most importantly, by providing a support ambulance which allows mothers and fathers to travel alongside their seriously ill children.

“Jack had to be transferred from Glasgow to Edinburgh, and due to the equipment and three paramedics, we could not travel in the ambulance with him,” explains Arlene.

“It was the longest 90 minutes of my life, away from my baby, unaware how he was, but knowing only that he would have wanted his mummy by his side holding his hand.”

Jack died the next day, and Arlene has since dedicated every spare moment to the charity, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds, running first aid courses to teach parents what to do when their child stops breathing, setting up bereavement support groups and opening the respite centre Hulk’s Haven, named after Jack’s favourite superhero. And just before Christmas, Arlene was delighted to unveil Scotland’s first £160,000 support ambulance, funded by Brightest Star, at the charity’s annual ball.

“It was an emotional moment,” says Arlene. “Thanks to everyone who supported us, we finally did it, and Glasgow will have a support ambulance. Inspired by our efforts, the Scottish Ambulance Service is going to fund a further two for Edinburgh and Aberdeen – it’s amazing.”

Arlene plans to continue growing the charity, helping bereaved parents get the support they need when they experience the devastating loss of a child.

“I’m proud of what we have achieved so far but there is still a lot to be done,” she says.

“I am so proud to be nominated for Scotswoman of the Year – I can’t believe it.”


At just 12 years old, Grace is the youngest person ever to be on the SWOTY shortlist.

The schoolgirl is a fantastic example of how Scotland’s young people can be a strong force for change.

Grace, from East Lothian, has Crohn’s disease, and she was fed up getting nasty comments and horrible looks from people every time she used a disabled toilet.

She wanted to make people more aware of “invisible” disabilities – the kind that don’t need wheelchairs.

In 2015, Grace designed a new sign for public loos that aims to show people might not have a visible disability but may still need to use an accessible toilet.

Her sign has been championed by her MSP Iain Gray and is now used at a growing number of sites, including the Scottish Parliament, sports centres, garden centres, Edinburgh airport and football grounds.

“The hearts on the sign represent that sometimes, disability is invisible and also that people should have a heart and not judge what cannot be seen,” explains Grace.

Grace continues to work tirelessly on her campaign, which has been taken up by Crohn’s and Colitis UK and has been featured around the world.

She was the inspiration behind the CCUK campaign for better signage in supermarkets; she has met Nicola Sturgeon and Princes William and Harry; and her story has gone viral.

She now plans to take her campaign into schools, to make young people more aware of those living with invisible disabilities.

A delighted Grace said: “I still can’t quite believe that I have been nominated for this award.

“It’s amazing to be one of the finalists especially as I’m only 12.”

Her mum, Judith, said: “I am so very proud of Grace.

“The day she decided that she wanted to see a change even I didn’t realise just how far Grace’s Sign would reach and what it would mean to those with invisible disabilities.”

Scotswoman of the Year 2018 (01/02/19)

I think I'm right in saying that yesterday was the closing date for nominations for Scotswoman of the Year 2018.

I have to admit I don't know what happens next, but I'll find out and share the details on the blog in the days ahead.


People Make Glasgow - Frances Stojilkovic (31/01/19)

I've just nominated Frances Stojilkovic for the 'Scotswoman of the Year 2018' award which is being organised by the Evening Times in association with the St. Enoch Centre.

Here's what I said about Frances in support of my nomination along with an internet link explaining the background to this annual event.

More details to follow soon and the very best of luck Frances who has played such a huge role in her local community and, of course, in Glasgow's long fight for equal pay.

Because becoming 'Scotswoman of the Year 2018' would knock an OBE, MBE or even a CBE into a cocked hat any day of the week - well in my book anyway!


Frances Stojilkovic - Scotswoman of the Year 2018

I would like to nominate Glasgow’s Frances Stojilkovic as ‘Scotswoman of the Year 2018’ because she is an inspiring, irrepressible role model for women of all ages.

Frances is one of Glasgow’s 2,500 Home Support Workers and for the past 15 years she has been looking after the most vulnerable people in our local community. 

More recently Frances has played a vital role in Glasgow’s historic fight for equal pay which culminated in an agreement to settle the Council’s 14,000 outstanding cases at a cost of £500 million, after a lengthy battle in and out of the courts.

The enormous sum of money involved represents the pay and pensions which low paid, predominantly female council council workers lost over 12 years as a result of Glasgow City Council’s discriminatory pay arrangements, known locally as the Workforce Pay and Benefits Review (WPBR).

The WPBR was introduced originally in 2007, but the controversial pay scheme was subsequently condemned as ‘unfit for purpose’ by the Court of Session, Scotland’s highest civil court, in August 2017.

Frances started up her own Facebook page in support of the campaign for equal pay and this has been instrumental in galvanising support across the city - not just from other low paid workers (cleaners, carers, catering workers, clerical staff, classroom assistants etc), but from the wider public as well.

Frances’s high profile role in Glasgow’s equal pay campaign attracted the attention of Anne Robinson, well known for a variety of TV roles, who made a film about the 2018 struggle for pay equality - 'The Trouble with Women’ - highlighting the need for Glasgow's campaign almost 50 years after the 1970 Equal Pay Act. 

In her spare time, Frances is also a committed community activist who has done a huge amount of voluntary work in Govanhill to increase community safety, tackle crime and generally improve the local area.

In recent years some of Glasgow’s most senior council officials have been awarded public honours from the Queen - OBEs, MBEs, CBEs - for their services to local government and the charitable sector.

So instead of the ‘usual suspects’ it would be great to see one of Glasgow’s unsung foot soldiers being recognised for her selfless contribution to better the lives of her co-workers and fellow citizens.