WHO better than to give you a post-Christmas kick up the backside than national treasure and former local news reporter Lorraine Kelly? My year in the Evening Times started in JANUARY with some motivating chat from the morning TV star, who was releasing a new Zumba DVD with her fellow fitness fanatic Maxine Jones.

The celebrity fun continued when I was lucky enough to get the chance to visit the Strictly Live tour rehearsals in London. I caught up with beautiful Daisy Lowe, daft Ed Balls and last year’s winner, charming Ore Oduba, for all the glitterball gossip.

I love my job.

FEBRUARY is all about SWOTY, of course, here at the Evening Times. It’s a magical time for me, as I get to meet and write about the inspirational women making a difference all over the country. The event itself took place on a windy, wild night, but the wonderful warmth in the room – the grand banqueting hall at the City Chambers – was joyful. And winner Laura Young, who set up the Teapot Trust after the death of her young daughter, was a worthy champion.

In MARCH, I had the privilege of writing about a young musician, Kerr Gildie, and his sensational bandmates at Duncanrig Secondary in East Kilbride. Kerr was fighting back to health after a serious car accident and music was helping him through it. I also met Masterchef: The Professionals winner Gary Maclean, riding high after his TV triumph, and Roza Salih, former Glasgow Girl, who was in the running to become a city councillor.

Getting a look around the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s archive was a treat in APRIL and the month was full of fantastic stories for me – catching up with the mighty Julie McElroy, former ET columnist who has cerebral palsy, as she collected her PhD, was inspiring. And I learned how supporters of the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice are not just doing good work in Glasgow – Lynn Bakst and her family are raising awareness and funds in New York.

Tea was very much on my mind in MAY, as I celebrated both the opening of fabulous tea speciality shop T2 and caught up with the Willow Tea Rooms Trust, who are renovating the old Willow Tea Rooms on Sauchiehall Street and turning them into a restaurant and heritage centre. It was fun, too, to catch up with Barry Sweeney and Martin Coyle, who were retracing the miles ET journalist John Quinn covered in 1967 in a green-and-white Hillman Imp, when he led the “Celticade” of 15,000 fans heading for Lisbon and their team’s famous triumph in the European Cup.

One of the best bits of my job is writing about our Streets Ahead campaign, and JUNE is the time of year we celebrate all the groups and individuals making a difference around the city. The awards, in the Winter Garden, were an uplifting and emotional affair!

The summer went by in a whirl, but highlights included meeting Susan Aitken, new leader of Glasgow City Council in JULY; catching up with Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe, the duo visiting all of the UK's railway stations, when they popped in to Glasgow Central in AUGUST; and having more Streets Ahead fun with the Southern Necropolis Action Group, who are transforming a once-neglected cemetery into a hub of history, heritage, environment and education, in SEPTEMBER.

In OCTOBER, I wrote about Oxjam, the marvellous musical event which brings together all genres and age groups. Our own Nicola Cassells, who has been a hit at many Evening Times events, added some opera to Sauchiehall Street for the occasion, and it went down a storm. I also met Graeme and Ally Wells, the couple behind a new LEGO exhibition – and discovered there is more to the little plastic bricks than meets the eye.

Henry and Anne Rankin are wonderful people, who use their own experience of dementia to help others. I interviewed them in NOVEMBER as they prepared to collect a prestigious award for their efforts. I discovered more about the wonderful world of graphic artists Metaphrog, as they held their first exhibition and rejoiced at the glorious, grand final of the Glasgow Community Champions Awards.

Ending the year as it began, deep in the heart of Strictly, DECEMBER saw me interview glamorous ex-Strictly star Erin Boag all about dancing, children and Anton du Beke’s underpants. I also broke an exclusive about the first dementia book written for young children, and caught up with the young stars and coaches at Hamilton Gymnastics Club, celebrating a move to new, state-of-the-art premises. They were literally jumping for joy..

Thanks 2017, it’s been a blast. Roll on next year….