INSPIRING Women – I loved the title before I even opened the invitation. The University of the West of Scotland run a series of events identifying inspiring women, and this week it was the turn of Karen Darke MBE, a full-time athlete with the British Para-Cycling Team.

Listening to her story, her passion and sheer zest for life would make anyone feel inadequate. Karen broke her back during a climbing accident when she was just 21 and has had to adjust to life in a wheelchair. However, since then, she has crossed the Himalayas by bike – as well as the Greenland ice cap by sit-ski – and is now an Olympian, as she went on to win gold at the 2016 Paralympics.

Karen is part of a long line of athletes who have suffered a life-changing moment and appeared through the other side much stronger. The para-athletic movement is growing in stature daily and quite rightly so. When we watch our para-athletes in competition it beggars belief at what they can achieve and certainly puts into perspective my daily aches and pains!

Currently, at the top of the list of people who are inspiring young Scots women must be the Women’s National Squad. The team played their first World Cup match yesterday, already having made history by qualifying.

Many of the team members have visited their local schools and community clubs in the run up to this event, and the insight they have given us into their life and passion for football is populating many Twitter feeds at the moment.

Good luck messages have been sent from various celebrity fans, and murals are popping up all over the country showcasing individual team members. Even Caledonian MacBrayne tweeted well wishes, as Jane Ross is a frequent passenger crossing over from Rothesay to the mainland.

If you want to join some like-minded people to watch the last game in the qualifying group on June 19 at GoGlasgow Hotel, SW/S have organised a big screen showing of the match.

Tickets are still available through: