A PIONEERING environmental activist has been named the 59th Glasgow Times Scotswoman of the Year.

Maureen Potter, who recently celebrated her 80th birthday, was awarded the title in honour of her “single-minded dedication” to protecting and preserving Scotland’s natural spaces.

Glasgow Times:

Champion fundraiser Mariya Javed, from Elderslie, was crowned Young SWOTY 2021 after winning the public vote.

Maureen, from East Kilbride, has been the driving force behind campaigning group Friends of Langlands Moss for 16 years, helping to raise awareness of the importance of vital peat bogs, which store carbon and help to cool the atmosphere. Her work has transformed Langlands Moss into a globally-important nature reserve at the forefront of the fight against climate change.

Glasgow Times:

The retired schoolteacher is dedicated to educating people about conservation and wildlife and as well as spearheading a campaign to raise £100,000 for the reserve, Maureen has led awareness-raising campaigns which brought attention from leading eco organisations and politicians around the UK.

Maureen said: “I’m absolutely stunned. I just feel privileged to have been nominated and privileged to have led Friends of Langlands Moss for so many years.

“This is a real honour. When I first got the phone call to say I had been shortlisted, I thought it was a hoax. This award has been won by so many illustrious women, and I can’t believe I have now won it too.”

READ MORE: East Kilbride activist and community hero Maureen in running for SWOTY 2021

Glasgow Times Assistant Editor Stacey Mullen said: “Maureen was persuading people to pay attention to the importance of biodiversity and natural resources long before climate change was widely discussed.

Glasgow Times:

“She has persevered, despite huge challenges, and has inspired people not just in her own community, but across Scotland and beyond. We are delighted she is our 2021 Scotswoman of the Year.”

Mariya is just 12 years old but has already made an impact in her own community and beyond.

After her brother died five years ago from a rare condition, she has worked tirelessly to raise money for Another Star in the Sky, a fund set up by her parents in association with Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.

The schoolgirl has helped to raise more than £16,500 for research into rare conditions and to fund bereavement support services.

Stacey said: “Mariya’s willingness to help others, in the face of her own sadness over the loss of her brother, is inspiring. She has worked so hard to fundraise for charity, and the support she provides to young people who have been bereaved is exceptional. She is a very worthy winner.

Mariya said: “I am really surprised and over the moon.”