Horrible Histories

Specsavers is proud to be associate sponsor of the Sunday Mail Great Scot Awards 2016

The Sunday Mail Great Scot Awards is Scotland’s biggest awards ceremony, championing everything that’s great about Scotland and its local communities.

For 26 years, The Sunday Mail Great Scot Awards has been honouring ordinary people whose stories of courage, determination and selflessness make the nation proud.

Specsavers is proud to be associate sponsor for the second year running and supporting the Specsavers Community Champion Award. This award celebrates an individual or group who have worked tirelessly to improve the lives of people within their local community.

For more information on nominating a member of your local community for this award, visit the website or pop into your local Specsavers store.

Great Scot Awards

Great Scot Roadshows

The Great Scot Roadshow will provide an interactive story telling experience to engage and educate children about great scots in history.

  • Livingston - Saturday 20th August - The Centre
  • Aberdeen - Saturday 27th August - Bon Accord Centre
  • Stirling - Saturday 3rd September - The Thistle Centre
  • Glasgow - Saturday 10th September - Glasgow Forge Centre

Timings: The performances will run four times per day 10:30, 12:30, 14:00 and 15:30

Great Scot Roadshows

Great Scot Writing Competition

Join Specsavers on a fun journey through Scotland’s history with the Great Scots Roadshows and write your own Great Scots story for the chance to win and ipad plus a great Sottish Adventure for your whole class.

Competition is open to individuals and as a class project.

Three age groups 6-9 years, 9-12 years and 13 and over.

Entry should be under 500 words.

You can post your entries using a coupon in the Sunday Mail or you can enter online at Great Scot Writing Competition

Community Champions

Ups and Downs - Hamilton, Lanarkshire

Full of smiles and bursting with talent, The Ups and Downs Theatre Group are Scotland’s happiest performers.

For 20 years, this incredible company has been staging an annual song and dance spectacular.

The fun-filled group for children and young adults with Down’s syndrome and their siblings come together every Sunday to share their passion for music, theatre and dance.

Each March, they put on a sell-out show in Hamilton Townhouse to show off their sensational talent and promote the positive side of Down’s syndrome.

As they celebrate their 20th anniversary, Ups and Downs president Angela Jack, whose son Aaron, 16, has been a member of the group since he was five, says she is immensely proud of all the children.

“Young people with Down’s syndrome can be funny, frail, musical, mischievous, wilful and witty – just like everyone else. They are individuals with their own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams and, above all, they love to sing and dance.

Ups and Downs allows them to show off their passion for performance and they thrive on it. Young people with Down’s syndrome have a fantastic ethos. They don’t say ‘I can’t’ and never say ‘no’ and they give everything a go. They may not do it perfectly, but they’ll give it a good try and support and encourage each other.”

Annie McLaughlan - 69, Irvine

From helping to run a community centre, a food bank and a boxing club, to running errands for all her neighbours, it’s no wonder Annie McLaughlin is nicknamed ‘The Angel of Irvine’. If volunteering were an Olympic sport, the 69- year-old grandmother would be a gold medallist.

Annie has spent her entire life helping and supporting the people of her north Ayrshire town, and has become a guardian angel to many friends and neighbours. Not only was she the driving force behind the campaign to secure a community centre for her area, but the mum-of-two has also spent the last 10 years helping to run it.

Annie does all this while caring for her disabled husband Tommy, 70, and raising her late daughter’s child Erin, 16.

But the retired nurse plays down her selfless hard work. She said: “It has always been in my nature to help others. It’s what I was brought up to do. I learned from an early age that the smallest of gestures can mean the world to someone who is struggling. If you have the power to do good and give someone a hand, then just do it.

My reward is seeing other people happy – that’s what makes me hold my head high. I was born and bred in the Vineburgh area of Irvine. I love my community and am really proud of my neighbours, friends and family. I’ll be there for them all until the day I die.”

Grace Lamont - 57, Castlemilk, Glasgow

When a group of Castlemilk mums decided to take a stand against the drugs and crime blighting their area, they had no idea their bravery would change the lives of future generations.

Back in the 1970s, the streets and parks were overrun by gangs and vandals, turning this once-proud Glasgow community into a place where parents were too frightened to let their children play outside.

Desperate to give their kids a haven where they were safe, Mary Miller and her friend formed the Jeely Piece Club in 1975. Now celebrating their 41st anniversary, the club grew into a project that epitomises Castlemilk’s sense of togetherness and community spirit.

The longest-serving member of staff, Grace Lamont, mum to River City actor Gary Lamont, has spent 33 years providing a safe and welcoming environment to babies, toddlers and families.

She explained: “I’ve always felt very proud to be a part of something so important to so many people. Like a lot of families in Castlemilk, we didn’t have a lot of money and the only way to give your kids opportunities was to send them away to the Jeely Piece Club.

Now we have 500 kids a week coming through the doors and over the years we’ve helped thousands of young people on the right path in life. People who came years ago now send their own kids and it’s become a proper institution, one I’m proud to be part of.”

Clare Louise McDonald - 30, Motherwell

As well as looking after her own two sons, Clare Louise looks out for 200 other boys aged 3 to 10 at Cambusnethan Talbot Community FC. As both the team coach and a full-time working mum, she juggles working life and her responsibilities at home with training three nights a week.

She is also the team’s chauffeur, kit washer, first aider, tea lady and number one supporter.

Administration assistant Clare Louise and her husband Steve, 35, started a disability academy in the community after completing the Scottish Football Association course in coaching footballers with disabilities. They have given children with autism and other additional support needs the opportunity to enjoy football.

Clare Louise, who is mum to James, 9, and Steven, 5, said: “There is nothing more rewarding than seeing kids of all ages and abilities come together to share fun, sport and friendship. The club has become my life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Instead of a couple of kids, I am mum to 202.”