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Awards Winners & Runners Up 2011

The Ninth Woman of the Year Award was won by Lisa Collins!

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The winners and runners up were as followed:

Val Price Runner Up in the Caring Category

Pride in Liverpool started as a result Val’s involvement in Capital of 2008 and her retirement. During Liverpool’s special year, the European Capital of Culture, Val could feel the pride in the City returning. However she was also aware of the anger and apathy at the areas of the city that were struggling with unemployment and poverty. A city which still had the five poorest districts in the UK and youngsters leaving school being unable to read and write and there was no pride in those statistics and so she rolled up her sleeves and decided to make a difference. In 2009 she started to talk to people about putting together a project on their neighbourhood, what was in it of historical value and then collecting memories from people about their experiences in these places and neighbourhoods. In 2010 she organised the first exhibition in St.George’s Hall where groups from Knowsley Community College did fantastic projects about Wavertree, Woolton Picture House, Calderstones, Knotty Ash and the Mersey. Val has been the driving force for people and has often funded project using her own money, she has the tenacity and energy of a woman half her age and is a wonderful role model for a woman who cares passionately about making a difference in the Community.

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Bea Freeman Runner Up in the Inspirational Woman Category

Bea Freeman was born in Liverpool 8 and has worked most of her life as a director/producer for TV and Film. She has produced acclaimed programmes tackling some of the hardest issues for Channel 4 , BBC and ITV But what she has also managed to achieve is to champion equality and ensure that she has enabled so many to gain opportunities within this field. Bea has produced some major films for the industry, tackling a range of diverse issues from the plight of rent boys, to black opera singers to a major film on the Liverpool riots. Bea has continually promoted people from diverse communities and enabled many to get started in the industry. She has promoted events such as Women in the Directors Chair, events where she has brought acclaimed directors and officials from the BBC, ITV and the film industry from London to Liverpool and she was instrumental in gaining mainstream apprenticeships for young black people from the community. Her work with School children from Kirkby produced a wonderful film and won a national award and then was shown at the Sundance International Film Festival in the States where it won one of their prestigious awards. She raises the finance for projects without her many of these children would not have been outside of their neighbourhood. She is a visionary, entrepreneurial, hardworking, inclusive and unassuming woman of all she has achieved and the lives she has affected.

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Crissy Rock Winner of the Arts & Culture Award

Most noted for her role in the Ken Loach Film, Ladybird, ladybird Crissy Rock, won her the Berlin Film Festival Award for Best Actress, amazing for someone who has never had an acting lesson in her life ! She was born in Bootle, and has an amazing life story, she was abused as a child, beaten by her first husband, diagnosed with cancer, and suffered four miscarriages. She then turned to stand up comedy and after finding success entertaining holidaymakers in Spain, she was offered a part in the BAFTA winning series Benidorm, which has brought her fame to millions of TV viewers. Her autobiography, called “ Bedlam to Benidorm “ is a chronicle of her exciting and sometimes harrowing life.

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Sharon Carroll Winner of the Entrepreneur Award

Sharon Carroll started off wanting to leave school at 16, but was persuaded to stay on and at 18 her photograph appeared in the Liverpool Echo as one of the first students outside London to achieve a distinction in every exam. She joined the NatWest Bank and stayed in her banking career for many years. But Sharon realised that she wanted to do more and decided to train in makeup and colour analysis doing “parties” in the evening. She resigned from the bank and enrolled at the Cheshire Academy. Once she had qualified she began to look for premises and she discovered Stanley Grange which was perfect for her business ideas but she had to convince the Owners. Once she had the premises she had to obtain planning permission, source every minute detail in every room, from treatment beds, to blinds, even the toilet brushes. Sharon had to deal with things that were totally new to her such as the alarm systems, the chlorine content and ph balance of the hot tub, as well as all the “normal” business issues such as health and safely, food hygiene etc. Against the advice of well meaning family and respected business associates, in the aftermath of the credit crunch and shortly before the recession hit the Chill Out Spa began trading. In such a volatile time it was not the kind of market she needed when she was trying to launch a business that encourages people to spoil themselves but Sharon has been unwavering in her belief of her business, which is now an award winning Spa in the North West.

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Ruby Porter MBE WInner of the Humanitarian Award

Ruby was awarded the MBE in January for over 40 years of community work both in Liverpool and Bangladesh. She became involved in the project in 1989 when she was teaching full time textiles and embroidery at Liverpool Community College and then after watching a documentary on television, about Sreepur Village and that they needed textile equipment and she wrote to offer supplies. By return post a letter came to say that they could not pay for her to go to Bangladesh but they desperately needed her skills too. So alone she set off to the unknown with as much sewing equipment as her baggage allowance would allow and when she arrived to a semi jungle there was nothing there but 600 children and 150 destitute women, some as young as 13. She has since made more than 30 self-funded visits to Bangladesh, setting up textile workshops to help the poor and underprivileged and taught the mothers to weave and sew. Ruby has set up workshops in embroidery, spinning and weaving to enable the women to spin wheat straw into yarn to be used as thread to make embroidered cards, scarves and gifts to sell and provide for their families. Ruby has co-ordinated an touring exhibition of the Kantha embroidery from rural Bangladesh to fund raise. Despite suffering from a rare disease in her retinas and no longer being able to drive, her teaching knowledge of textiles and enthusiasm are still sought after and admired.

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Claire Lara Winner of the Woman Achieving Award

Claire starting to cook at 12 years old, when her Nan asked her for the recipe for her Chocolate cake ! It was a tutor on a youth training scheme, who encouraged her to go for a job in one of the best restaurants in Paris. At only 19, she started work in the Hotel Baltimore, in the kitchen once headed by Albert Roux and in her 5 years there, she was part of the team that earned the Restaurant a Michelin Star, and she also met her Husband Marc, a French chef. She came home and worked in the London Carriageworks and the Panoramic restaurants and became a tutor at Liverpool Community College. Last year was the pinnacle of her success when she became the first ever female winner of Professional Master Chef, having competed against some of the best Chefs in the UK, despite being sick whilst competing against her fellow finalists she did not realise she was pregnant and put her symptoms down to nerves. In such a male dominated profession she has to hold her own and Claire hopes that other women will be inspired to take that step forward in a profession where very few women achieve as the male chefs do. The Judges were Michel Roux Jnr, himself a Michelin-starred chef and food writer Gregg Wallace and both commented “it was about time a woman won the show”. Claire and her husband Marc are about to open their first Restaurant on the Wirral.

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Karen Gallagher Runner Up in the Arts & Culture Category

Karen Gallagher is the Managing Director of Merseyside Dance Initiative (“MDI”) the Regional Dance Agency for Merseyside. Karen has led the growth of MDI from a modest regional Dance Agency in 1994 to the internationally respected organisation it is today. From the outset, Karen’s vision has been to give the people of Merseyside an opportunity to see top class artists, to support local artists and to give all communities the chance not only to see, but also to participate in dance. She is the driving force behind the organisation and the reason why so many young people have taken up dance, either as a hobby or as a profession. Karen strives to promote a culture of inclusion regardless of background, ability or age where the individual’s creativity and well being is at the core of all that she does. Karen has overcome barriers to be the driving force behind dance In Merseyside, an area not traditionally known for dance. Karen has had to use her skills, drive and passion to break down barriers with many interested groups including funders and investors.

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Cath Bowen Runner Up in the Community Category

Cath Bowen has attended Sunflowers Cancer Support Centre for over 17 years. Cath married Joe and they had 4 children they were married for nearly 40 years, 18 years ago her husband became ill with cancer and died, Cath brought her children up a single mum. She is 81 years young, every week she comes to Sunflowers to raise money for a variety of things, her astounding fundraising efforts runs into the thousand, She listens and supports people who are going through very emotional times and she has travelled over 20,000 miles in her support of Sunflowers. What she does has been a major lifeline at Sunflowers, but it is with the love and dedication of people like Cath that has enabled Sunflowers to carry on in these very difficult times. She is a very forward looking, positive person who makes a huge difference to everyone she comes into contact with and she does not see in any way that her efforts are amazing.

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Angela Cholet - Category Inspirational Woman Winner

Angela is Chief Executive with Knowsley Domestic Violence, which she established in 1995, as the only member of staff. She opened the first purpose built women and children’s refuge in Knowsley, which was a real struggle, as nobody wanted it near them, but since opening in October 2005, over 200 women and 300 children have stayed at the refuge. The Agency was registered as a charity in 1996, and this year is the 15th anniversary, during which time she has worked with over 5000 people affected by domestic violence. She saw a need when families have to move out and understands the attachment that women and children have for their pets children and to leave them with an abusive partner would be too painful. Angela has devised a network foster homes for the pets and makes sure that when the women and children are re-housed, they are reunited with their pets which can mean so much for the family as the pets can be a stable link for the children to settle into their new life quicker.

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Susan Wakeling Winner of the Humanitarian Award

Susan has set up a project to provide support and training for children in South West China, working with Orphanages to educate them that children with disabilities do have a future. She has written a training programme for the holistic approach to special needs education and has trained Chinese women in the basics of special needs, with more being trained at the moment. 28 children attend each week and have individual learning programmes. Over the years 300 families have been helped, parents are counselled and cared for too. For the last 7 years, Susan and her husband Martin, have battled to adopt a Chinese girl with cerebral palsy, they never gave up, and their wishes came true in April 2010, when she came home to the UK with them. Their daughter attends mainstream education and is thriving which is testimony to Sue’s tenacity and made a huge difference to a little girl who was “left to die” in a windowless orphanage.

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Winner WHISC of the Women's Group Award

WHISC is a charity which aims to promote women's health by providing information, training and support to women and their families. It celebrates 25 years of serving the women of Merseyside this year. After years of hard work and fundraising a city centre base was established, making its services accessible to all women in the area and bringing together women from all cultures and backgrounds, encouraged by the outreach service, which works across the city and beyond, delivering courses and sessions on topics ranging from breast awareness and healthy eating to self-esteem and assertiveness, in a variety of venues such as schools, colleges, refugee groups, children’s, learning disability and mental health centres. Over the years, tens of thousands of women have benefitted from WHISC’ services. These women often progress into further and higher education and employment and the work of WHISC is invaluable to raise aspirations of women and families across Merseyside.

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Beth-Marie Rosewell Winner of the Caring Award

Beth is a full time Specialist Foster Carer who provides short, long and permanent placements for children with special needs. Her own child has autism, is epileptic, is tube fed and sensory impaired. Beth and her husband Dale started to foster over 7 years ago and since then has gone on to foster scores of children with a range of disabilities; often sibling groups who would otherwise be split up, or have a diagnosis of HIV that were previously considered to be ‘impossible to place’. Beth also takes children into her home for 5 weeks every year from Chernobyl, as part of the Chernobyl Childline Charity. These children vie for a chance to come to this country where they live with local families and have the opportunity to eat uncontaminated food and play in unpolluted air. Beth commands great respect for the care she affords children in her care they blossom as they can sense her caring nature is real. Beth inspires all who work with her to give of our best -because to do anything less would be to fail the children in our care.

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Barbara Fitzgerald Winner of the Community Award

Barbara has successfully run the Rialto Neighbourhood Council for many years, firstly on a volunteer basis and later as a Project Co-ordinator. She has been instrumental in the setting up of T.A.C.E., which stands for Thackeray Carter Street Estate for the tenants, this was the first estate in Liverpool and the North West to be successful in obtaining estate renewal Challenge Fund to allow new houses to be rebuilt. The residents set up this committee to address the needs of their community and to make better living conditions for all in the area. Barbara goes above and beyond with her work that she does in the community working in her spare time, after work hours, organising bingo sessions, getting in touch with companies who may be able to help with her fund raising activities. Barbara has had to overcome many barriers to make the Rialto Neighbourhood Council the success that it is today, she makes the funding that she receives go so far the community.

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Sue Snowdon Winner of the Learning Award

Sue is lead education nurse and programme manager at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, she developed the North West Neo Natal induction programme which she has managed throughout the region since 1997, and was validated by Liverpool John Moores University in 2001. The rigorous training programme Sue has designed, implemented and managed has enabled many of the “miracle babies “to survive. The regional induction programme that she designed has resulted in a high rate of retention, providing a continuous flow of highly trained neo natal nurses for not only Liverpool, but the North West. The dedication to her work means that the training she has instigated will leave a lasting legacy for premature babies forever, but Sue insists that she is “nothing special”.

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Lisa Collins Runner Up in the Learning Category and Woman of the Year 2011

As a parent of three children, Lisa struggled to find childcare which complimented her values as a parent. 14years ago, when she first needed childcare most nurseries had some small outdoor space with inappropriate concrete flooring and a plastic slide, . she reluctantly sent her daughter to a pre-school which was run in a converted house. Resources were poor and learning experiences few and Lisa remembers her daughter coming home and telling her how she had been given a jigsaw puzzle to do and there was a piece missing. She was given the same puzzle each time she went and became so disheartened from never being able to complete it. This struck a chord with Lisa and when she was unsuccessful in finding a nursery which placed any emphasis on outdoor play for her second child and was not a “converted house” indoor environment again, she saw there was a real gap in the market for purpose built nurseries where young children and babies went outdoors every day and so started Daisy & Jake Nursery based on her own needs as a parent. As the business has grown she has invested in more resources and training for outdoors and the children play outdoors in any weather with specially provided waterproof suits. Lisa has plans to be one of the first Eco Nurseries in Wirral and this compliments the already exiting Forest School. Over 6 years her business has grown to 3 nurseries and from 5 to 102 jobs and she invests in learning and development of the staff and has 18 apprentices at any one time.

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Jan Williams Runner Up in the Entrepreneur Category

Jan Williams is on kidney dialysis has turned the unwanted side-effects of kidney failure into a thriving business. Because of the adverse effects from the medication resulted in unwanted facial hair growth, and Jan was referred to a dermatologist. It was then that she got the idea for her business. She turned a negative into a positive and set up Pro.Med Laser Clinics in January 2008, opening her first clinic in Frodsham originally named Northwest Laser and Aesthetics Clinic. Following that success Jan expanded into St. Helens, Merseyside and is now celebrating the launch of her third laser clinic with further expansion planned for Greater Manchester on the horizon. This is in line with Jan’s vision for Pro.Med to take the business nationwide. Jan is always looking to help others where she can and is currently undertaking pro-bono work with offenders helping them remove the tattoos which leave a mark of the life they want to leave behind as part of a pilot rehabilitation scheme. She is a remarkable woman who has not given in to what could be a debilitating illness.

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