2014 was a great year for the southside

Above: the Blainey family welcome Team Zambia. Below: Russell carries the baton for ERGC and bottom: citizen of the year Lauren Cosgrove
Above: the Blainey family welcome Team Zambia. Below: Russell carries the baton for ERGC and bottom: citizen of the year Lauren Cosgrove

From the Commonwealth Games to record-breaking charity efforts, 2014 was a great year for the southside and East Renfrewshire.

We’ve taken a look back at the past year and The Extra’s top stories, in order to pick out those who’ve made a positive contribution to their community.

It may not be the new year honours list, but our top 10 certainly made the grade among Extra readers.

Russell Macmillan

The man behind East Renfrewshire Good Causes, Russell liaises with frontline workers (and often The Extra) to help the area’s most vulnerable. As a result of his charity work, Russell was chosen to bear the Queen’s Baton through East Renfrewshire.

Corinna Currie and Crawford Smith

The Southside Fringe may have kicked off in 2013, but the area’s very own arts festival flourished in 2014, thanks to founders Corinna Currie and Crawford Smith. The fest featured 140 acts across 37 venues.

The Siddiqui Family

Newton Mearns couple Noreen and Nadeem Siddiqui and their children Ayesha and Saif were honoured by blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan Trust in 2014, after a mammoth fundraising effort, following 10-year-old Ayesha’s diagnosis with leukaemia, and have raised £200,000.

Mum Noreen was also chosen to carry the Queen’s Baton Relay event.

David Blainey and family

The Blainey family, from Waterfoot, made headlines last summer after welcoming athletes from Zambia into their home and offering them a Scottish memento to take home.

The team, who were competing at Glasgow 2014, were on the look-out for a traditional kilt, in exchange for a team kit. When Games volunteer Irene Houston shared the plea on Clarkston.com, David responded offering his spare kilt – but he wasn’t expecting a visit, medals and all.

Lauren Cosgrove

East Renfrewshire provost Alastair Carmichael issued a call for nominations in 2014 to find his Citizen of the Year. The results were in by December, and nine-year-old Lauren claimed the title.

The Barrhead girl, who was born with incurable short bowel syndrome, set up her own charity – Lauren’s Lifelines – to raise money for children like her. The charity has raised £16,000 for the cause.

Jim Murphy and Nicola Sturgeon

Holyrood became a southside/East Ren battleground in 2014 as two local representatives stepped up to represent their side for Scotland.

Following the independence referendum and resignation of Alex Salmond, southside MSP Nicola Sturgeon stepped up from deputy to first minister.

East Renfrewshire MP Jim Murphy, meanwhile, was elected leader of the Labour Party in Scotland.

Helen Bailie

When MP Jim Murphy and MSP Ken Macintosh set out to find East Renfrewshire’s top volunteers, The Extra signed up to award the title of Community Champion.

A reader vote showed a clear winner in Helen, a Newton Mearns netball coach who has dedicated her spare time to St Cadoc’s Youth Club.

Phyllis Hutchison

A chance encounter on a Tanzanian holiday changed Giffnock woman Phyllis Hutchison’s life – not to mention the lives of the orphans at the Children Concern Foundation.

After stumbling upon the impoverished orphanage, Phyllis set up the Scottish Friends of Children Concern Foundation, joining forces with an American group to improve the lives of those she had met.

Ashley Crossan and Amanda Johnston

When Ashley and Amanda set up a Facebook page advertising a peaceful protest in Queen’s Park, few could have predicted the scale of the event to come.

Thousands packed the southside streets for the midnight march These Streets Were Made for Walking, to “send a message” to the perpetrators of a recent spate of sex crimes, and to the authorities.

Malcolm (Malky) Mackay

Southsider sportsman Malclom’s achievements have been recognised as his name appears in the 2015 Queen’s Honours list. The footballer made his debut for Queen’s Pa rk in August 1962, and has been an active member of Queen’s Park Football Club for more than 50 years.