It was the year that the deadliest outbreak of ebola started in West Africa and began to spread, the year that Russian conflict in Ukraine and Crimea raised global tensions and the year that a Malaysian Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur destined for Beijing vanished – just four months before a different, unrelated Malaysian Airlines flight was shot down near the Ukrainian border.
From uprisings across the Arab world and the deaths of Osama Bin Laden and Kim Jong-il, to a magnitude-nine earthquake that shook north-eastern Japan unleashing a savage tsunami, 2011 was a tumultuous year worldwide.
It was a year that saw a number of notable deaths, including Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela and Hugo Chavez, the Pope's resignation and a meteorite crash in Russia.
It was the year that the Queen celebrated 60 years on the throne, the UK basked in the reflected glory of its Olympic and Paralympic athletes and the US re-elected Barack Obama as president.
It was the year that David Cameron and Nick Clegg joined forces at Westminster to send Labour’s Gordon Brown packing and when thousands of US embassy cables by Julian Assange’s Wikileaks website caused global controversy.
Ahead of a new TV documentary series following Scotland’s paramedics, a Fife mum tells Michael Alexander how her half-drowned son was saved by the ‘unsung heroes’ of the Scottish Ambulance Service, while Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance, based at Perth, gives an insight into its life-saving role.