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Church Elder Named Scotswoman of the Year

Wednesday June 15 2022

A Church of Scotland elder from East Kilbride has been named Glasgow Times Scotswoman of the Year for her work to conserve a vital nature reserve.

Maureen Potter, 80, until recently the chair of Friends of Langlands Moss, says she was ‘absolutely stunned’ to win the award, which has previously been awarded to Sally Magnusson among other notable women.

She says: “When they phoned my up from the Glasgow Times to say I was nominated, I thought they were having me on!”

Maureen attended the awards ceremony with her friend Lisanne Ferrell, who is also a member of the Friends. She said that when the presenter started saying that the winner was involved in conservation she thought ‘oh no, that’s me’.

“When I got back to my seat I broke down, the emotion just took over me.

“The trophy is so heavy I can hardly lift it, and the problem was how to get it to East Kilbride – fortunately Lisanne had her car with her, and she carried it into the house and put it on the sideboard and it’s been sitting there ever since. My daughter calls it ‘the monument’!"

Maureen, a retired primary school teacher, has been with Friends of Langlands Moss for 16 years, initially as secretary and then as chairperson, before stepping down earlier this year. “I thought it was time for someone younger,” she says, although she remains on the committee.

Langlands Moss is a peat bog, which is a vital eco-system as peat absorbs and stores carbon from the atmosphere. The Friends have campaigned for the conservation of the site, raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to install a new boardwalk (and then thousands more to repair it after it was badly damaged by arson), set up links with supporting organisations, delivered education on the habitat through schools and youth organisations, and carried out practical work such as tree planting and damming ditches.

“The thing about lowland peat is it is just as important in the scheme of things as the rainforests,” Maureen says. “I go to schools and see all the pictures of the Amazon and think there’s something just as important just up the road.”

Maureen has been a member of Busby Parish Church for over 60 years and an elder for 20, as well as holding all the offices in the Busby Guild. She says that her conservation work is a key part of her faith. “The group is all faiths and none, but for me, I feel one of the important parts of being a Christian is stewardship of the earth. We should be looking after the Lord’s good earth, and we have a responsibility to preserve it for the future.”

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Heather McDonald - Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

“A well deserved award for Maureen. She does so much for so many people in Busby and East Kilbride ”

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