THE woman who brought Nicola Sturgeon into the SNP has been recognised by Michael Russell with the President's Prize at the virtual SNP conference.

The party's president, Russell presented the award to Ullrich posthumously as she sadly died at the age of 77 early this year.

The prize was initiated by Winnie Ewing, and is awarded to a member who has demonstrated exceptional active commitment to the SNP and Scottish independence.

Ullrich joined the SNP in 1965 at the age of 22 and campaigned for Scottish independence all her life, later becoming an MSP for the West of Scotland and serving from 1999 to 2003 after 24 years as a social worker.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon leads tributes to 'dear friend' former SNP MSP Kay Ullrich

Saying that he would have loved to have presented the President's Prize to Ullrich herself, Russell spoke with Ullrich's granddaughter and widower about their memories of her with the SNP.


Russell said: "I think she would have done anything - anything at all - to bring that moment of independence nearer and I just hope that in doing this, someone might see it at conference or after conference and do something that is going to bring independence nearer."

Ullrich supported Sturgeon as she ascended through the SNP and backed her for her 1992 bid to become MP for Glasgow Shettleston, prophetically saying: "This lady here will be the first female leader of the SNP one day."

At the age of 16, Sturgeon first approached Ullrich to work on her campaign in 1987 and the two worked together closely since that point.

Sturgeon paid tribute to Ullrich, saying: "It's no exaggeration to say that I wouldn't be standing here today as First Minister of Scotland without the influence, the support, the mentoring over decades of Kay Ullrich. She was the first person that I campaigned for the SNP way back in my teenage years - one of the first people that I met in the SNP.

"She was a friend, a colleague, someone I loved dearly and miss every single day. I can't think of a better recipient this year of the President's Prize than the one and only and much-missed Kay Ullrich."