THE race to be Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year is heating up. SHEILA HAMILTON meets two inspirational campaigners and we profile two more contenders for the Businesswoman of the Year and Sportswoman of the Year awards.

THESE ARE not just any grannies, they are Glasgow Grannies. And the story of how Jean Donnachie and Noreen Real took on the might of the Home Office and stopped dawn raids on their asylum seeker neighbours is to be made into a film by director Ken Loach.

They laugh when they say they would love Julie Walters and Claudia Schiffer to play them in the movie.

The Kingsway high rise flats in Scotstounhill have a terrible reputation, but many residents would not live anywhere else, including the asylum seekers who make up a large part of the population. THE 46th Scotswoman of the Year awards will be held in Glasgow City Chambers' Banqueting Hall next Wednesday, January 21.

The Scotswoman of the Year awards are sponsored once more by St Enoch Centre.

Susan Nicol, General Manager of St. Enoch Centre, said: "I'm delighted that we are once again supporting the Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year awards.

"These awards generate a huge amount of interest and are clearly regarded with a great deal of affection by the people of Scotland.

"One of the main reasons for that is that the Scotswoman of the Year promotes pride in the community by giving recognition to people who really deserve our admiration.

"Playing an active part in the local community is something which we at St. Enoch's see as a vital element of our own business and is at the heart of our current redevelopment programme.

"In my view it is extremely important that we provide our young people with good role models and the achievements of previous award winners have been both exceptional and inspirational and will undoubtedly encourage other young women to follow in their footsteps.

"What particularly impresses me is the fact that so many of the nominees have worked extremely hard to achieve success in their own careers but also use their talent, expertise and experience to benefit others in our community."

In part, this is due to Jean and Noreen, who have lived there for a total of 38 years and have helped turn what could have been soulless, graffiti-ridden buildings into a vertical village with a heart.

Theirs is a dramatic story and one that tells how two ordinary women - known to all at the Kingsway as Auntie Jean and Auntie Noreen - harnessed people power against the might of the state ... and won.

They are a determined pair and planned their campaign against the dawn raids three years ago like a military operation, just as they tackle everything else.

They had watched, horrified, as people were dragged out of their beds and carted off in handcuffs.

"We both hate injustice," says Noreen, 59, a mother of five and grandmother of eight.

"What the Home Office was doing was unjust. They didn't come in to talk to people. It was like the Gestapo. They came in here, team-handed in their riot gear.

"They were taking the kids away, the women in one van, the men in another, the teenagers and men in handcuffs."

Jean said: "We said No, you're not treating our neighbours like that.".

Noreen leans forward to make her point. "Jean and I went to the Dungavel detention centre to see one of the families, whose wee boy grew up here.

"He looked right into my eyes - and this look will be with me until I die - and said, Auntie Noreen, why am I in prison? I've done nothing wrong.' For a five-year-old boy to ask you that "I told him, The politicians in this country don't know you, darling. They don't know what a nice person you are'."

To the politicians, Noreen and Jean said: You've asked us to make these people welcome to our community. We have taken them in and with the next breath you come with a battering ram.' When they, along with other local people, watched a couple of families trying to escape and saw a man jump from his third floor verandah to get away as his door was being battered in, they knew they could not stand by.

"Then Jean and I decided we were going to start doing dawn patrols in the complex," says Noreen.

"We got every asylum seeker in the block to give us their mobile number and their house number and, depending on what block the Home Office van stopped at, someone would run in and tell Jean and she would phone every asylum seeker in that block and get them to come out by the stairs."

The Home Office people always went up in the lifts.

"We would even get people into a neighbour's house because the Home Office did not have the power to go in and we started asking people to leave their fire escape gates open."

They held candlelit vigils during dawn raids and kept 5.30am vigils for months - and won their fight to stop the raids.

Jean was one of those who went to see First Minister Alex Salmond, demanding to know why it took so many years to work out if a family can stay or not.

She said: "A couple of months later, the families began to be allowed to stay."

Their base is Kingsway Court Health and Wellbeing Centre at Block 50, a well-run community centre with a range of activities and they are on the management committee.

They have run a gala day, ceilidhs, a lunch club for pensioners, coffee mornings.

Jean, 67, a mother of four sons, and a grandmother of two, points out it is a two-way street.

When her husband, Eddie, died suddenly last year, it was her friends in the community as well as family who kept her going.

"They were wonderful. I was inundated with people coming to my door with food because in some religions when you have just been widowed, you don't cook." SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR NOMINATION: AILEEN McGLYNN WHAT an incredible year it's been for Scotland's golden girl, Aileen McGlynn.

At the Beijing Paralympics, the partially sighted cycling star thrilled the whole country when she won two gold medals and set a new world record.

"It was just an amazing year," says the 35-year-old from Crookston. "Everything went so well.

"In May, we set two new world records in both the 1km time trial and the 3km pursuit and then backed that up with the two gold at Beijing and also set a further world record in the kilometre race.

"Beijing was one of the highlights of my life," she says. "The facilities were really, really good and there was a lot of supporters there.

"Since we got back, I've had people coming up to me in the street to congratulate me and say they're really proud of me."

She laughs delightedly. "And then there was the OBE in the New Year's Honours list..."

Aileen, 35, who trained as an actuary but is now a professional cyclist, already has an MBE, awarded in 2005 for her services to cycling for the disabled.

It's a fantastic achievement for the girl born with nystagmus, which affects sight and means she is registered blind, and photophobia, which means she has no pigmentation in her skin.

Aged seven she borrowed a neighbour's bike as her parents wouldn't allow her to have one. Even from that age she showed a courage that had already won her gold and silver in Athens in 2004 and in a number of European and world championships.

But the last thing Aileen will do is rest on her laurels.

"This year, I've got the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester and also the World Championships in September, so I'm back in full training.

"I'm hoping to carry on to London in 2012 and I'll need a Scottish pilot for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 so I'm trying out a new tandem pilot from Glasgow - Vicky Begg, from Maryhill, who is a triathlete in her own right and world champion." SCOTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR NOMINATION: MORAG DOW ODIN may be the Norse God of War, but the only sign of aggression at Glasgow firm Odin Consultants is in its pursuit of new business.

At a time of unparalleled economy gloom, the company has increased its business by 50%, year on year.

"We saw this coming about a year ago," says Morag Dow, who founded the firm with David Irvine in 2003.

She said: "Instead of saying Let's downsize and hope for the best', we said Let's spend money and increase our marketing and business profile.' It has paid off. There are no dejected faces at Odin and it is bucking the trend.

"We spend weeks at a time all over the UK and Ireland and have won a lot of new clients," says Morag, 42, who lives in Stirling with husband Ian, but who was brought up in Bearsden.

"When we do get business, we really take care of our clients and apply the basic theories of marketing and customer care. It costs less to keep clients than to get new ones."

Odin has been commended at the Lloyds TSB Best Boss Awards for the environment created in its workplace and its bosses' leadership style.

The company's offices have a chill-out area, bistro and bar area, and a karaoke machine. Staff also have flexible shifts.

Morag's theory is that if you create a place where people feel appreciated, they will want to come to work.