One of Scotland's leading traditional singers, Sheena Wellington, is celebrating following the announcement that she has been named National Speaker of the Year 2001 by the Association of Speakers' Clubs.
While many across the country will remember East Neuk-based Sheena for her singing of Burns's A Man's a Man for a' That to herald the opening in 1999 of the Scottish Parliament, they may be surprised to learn that she is also a fluent, witty and inspirational public speaker.
Very much in demand for after-dinner speeches, conferences and, of course, Burns suppers, Sheena was nominated for the award by Denny Speakers' Club.
From her home in Largoward, Dundee-born Sheena said yesterday that nominations for the title are received from member clubs of the association and are then voted on by members of the United Kingdom wide organisation's 150 clubs.
She is following in the footsteps of television star Patricia Routledge, the winner in 2000, and among her other famous predecessors are Kirsty Wark, Victoria Wood, Tony Benn, Kate Adie and Sir Peter Ustinov.
A regular broadcaster on the BBC and in demand as a lecturer, writer, song teacher and consultant on traditional music, Sheena has played a leading role in the fight for recognition, status and improved funding for Scotland's traditional arts. In 1992 she became the first traditional musician to be appointed to the important Music Committee of the Scottish Arts Council.
In recognition of her achievements, Sheena was awarded honorary life membership of the TMSA and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
She was appointed traditional arts development officer for Fife Council in December 1997, the first post of its kind in Scotland.
Taken from "The Courier", Thursday June 14, 2001