Who created the biggest splash in your area in 2017? Who are the movers and shakers? The Courier’s Impact 100 is back for a sixth year in 2017 and on a mission to find out. Gayle Ritchie checks it out…
It’s been an extraordinary year. And whether in the realms of sport, politics, arts, business or health, Scotland – and Courier Country – has played a major part.
Certainly it’s the big moments that hit the headlines but it’s the people behind them who really matter.
Behind the scenes, there are vital and very often unsung roles being played out on a daily basis.
And that’s what Impact 100 is all about – recognising those who have inspired or helped others; who have brought about changes or achieved success, fame or even notoriety.
It’s about the people who touched your heart; people who changed your way of thinking; people who entertained you; people who enraged you and the people who inspired you.
So many things happened in 2017, good and bad.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election on June 8, stating that Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership following the EU referendum and the impending Brexit.
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The election was disastrous for the SNP with the party losing a third of seats while the Tories saw big increases in their vote across the country – their best performance in Scotland since 1983.
Locally, the SNP clung on to their seat in North east Fife, historically an SNP stronghold, with just two votes.
The SNP’s Stephen Gethins won 13,743 votes while Elizabeth Riches of the Scottish Liberal Democrats polled 13,741.
Meanwhile Tory Kirstene Hair claimed the Angus seat from SNP’s Mike Weir.
Dundee’s dreams of being crowned European City of Culture in 2023 were sunk in late November thanks to the Brexit vote.
The European Commission pulled the plug on the UK’s right to host the title, despite the Westminster Government launching its official competition late last year.
Traffic started using the £1.35 billion Queensferry Crossing – almost nine months later than planned.
Controversial “snagging” issues in early December aside, it most importantly provides a vital infrastructural link connecting the economies of Central Scotland.
On a lighter note, just this month we watched as former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale headed into the jungle for ITV’s I’m a Celebrity amid a storm of controversy.
But we also lost some much-loved people in 2017. There was Mary Law, the Cupar in Bloom activist, and Methil’s David Rowbotham aka “Motorhead Davey” who appeared in the BBC Scotland series The Council.
Gordon Aikman, the Kirkcaldy-born MND sufferer, died in February and a fund in his memory raised thousands for charity.
Meanwhile, 2017 saw the publication of a new biography about music legend Michael Marra and the arrival of Sistema, after a campaign inspired by the late singer-songwriter.
Outside Scotland, there was the Manchester Arena attack in May, followed by the Grenfell Tower fire in London in June.
There are an abundance of newcomers in the 2017 Impact 100 list – almost two-thirds. And like last year, we didn’t shy away from controversy; having a big impact isn’t always positive but it affects society in a major way.
Judging was tough and it got tougher as the panel moved towards the top 10.
Conversation was heated, opinions were debated but ultimately, there was agreement.
As with any influential list, there will be some people who may question or disagree with our decisions but if the list incites healthy debate, so much the better.
Throughout 2017, our journalists have been out and about in Dundee, Angus, Fife and Perthshire meeting people, sniffing out stories and chipping away at the chalk face of truth.
With your help, they have come back full of suggestions for the Impact 100 list.
Starting Monday, we will count down to this year’s number one and within five supplements, we’ll bring you the people we believe made 2017 truly memorable.
Last year, Oor Wullie topped the Impact 100 list. The Oor Wullie Bucket Trail had injected a huge sense of fun into summer 2016, while raising funds for the Archie Foundation. Who will it be this year?