Search is on for Evening Times superwoman

OUR search has begun for the Evening Times Scotswoman Of The Year 2012, that special person who inspires others.

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Roslyn Scott, Erin McNeill and Jenna Spiers
Roslyn Scott, Erin McNeill and Jenna Spiers

We want to hear about the women in your community who do that, as well as educate and entertain others.

It could be your next door neighbour or someone in your family. It could be an unsung heroine from your local charity, a business leader, or even a famous face you feel deserves recognition for the work they do.

Our Scotswoman Of The Year could be anyone and she has some impressive shoes to fill.

Previous title holders include Glasgow supergrans Jean Donnachie and Noreen Real who stopped Home Office dawn raids on asylum seekers in Scotstoun; Tracy Cosgrove, a mum from Alexandria, Dunbartonshire, who set up an orphanage in Thailand; and last year's winner, Dr Mary Hepburn, who has worked tirelessly for more than 20 years to help disadvantaged mothers.

There are many more women like Tracy, Jean, Noreen and Mary out there.

ANN FOTHERINGHAM profiles three who could be contenders for this year's title.

The 38-year-old, from Kilwinning, Ayrshire, set up the Zak Scott Braveheart Foundation in memory of her son, who died of heart problems just before his 15th birthday.

Roslyn was devastated when Zak died last year, but she was determined to fulfil his vision of helping other young people with heart conditions.

She says: "Zak attended Yorkhill a lot and, as he got older, he saw other children and wanted to help them.

"He believed every child should have a gift waiting for them when they wake up after an operation, like he always did. We thought the perfect thing was to start something in his name."

Roslyn set up the foundation with her mother, Sarah Rodgers, sister-in-law Sharon Lamb and friend Lilian Mair to work alongside Yorkhill Hospital For Sick Children.

About 50 children have so far received gifts and Ros plans to extend the scheme to other children throughout the hospital.

She devotes all her time to the Foundation and has raised about £30,000 since it began in September last year.

The 22-year-old suffered horrific burns in a house fire three years ago, and had to learn how to walk and eat again.

Since the blaze, she has dedicated her life to help educate people about the dangers of fire, as well as raising money to support firefighters.

She recently won the top prize in the British Red Cross's Humanitarian Citizen Awards.

Erin, of Menstrie, Clackmannanshire, has also won a string of beauty titles, including Miss Scotland International.

She explains: "I show people what fire can do to you, the damage it can cause. With the Fire and Rescue Service I visit community groups, Young Offenders' Institutions and prisons.

"It is difficult sometimes, but I always feel much better afterwards, like I have achieved something.

"It shocks people to see my scars, but that only helps drive home the message. I want people to look at my injuries and ask me questions – I would rather they did that than just stare at me.

"I suppose I am trying to do something positive after such a negative event in my life – and help the firefighters who saved my life."

The 17-year-old was determined to make her brother's dying wish come true.

Calum Speirs died of a brain tumour in 2007, when he was just 12.

He wanted his family to create a place where terminally ill children and their parents and siblings could enjoy a holiday together, making memories and having a break from the stresses of everyday life.

Jenna, from Rothesay, Bute, devoted all her time and energy into making it happen and, with the help of friends and family, raised more than £750,000 to build Calum's Cabin and Cottage, two holiday homes on Bute.

The teenager was presented with a Radio One Teen Hero award this year and was one of 8000 people chosen to carry the Olympic torch in the run-up to the London Games.

HOW TO NOMINATE

We want to hear about the woman who has most inspired you in 2012.

It could be someone famous, or your next-door neighbour. It might be someone who tirelessly campaigns for a cause close to her heart, or someone who has overcome tragedy in her own life to help others.

Perhaps you have been impressed by a woman who has made an incredible contribution to society in Scotland.

Our previous winners vary in age and background, but they are all hard-working, selfless, inspirational individuals who put others first.

The 2012 Scotswoman Of The Year will be crowned at a spectacular dinner in the City Chambers, Glasgow, on February 7.

Closing date for nominations is December 14.

To nominate send an e-mail to: lyndsay.wilson@heraldandtimes.co.uk

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