2017 2012 Inspiring Women Awards, Manchester Midland Hotel
- Credit: Archant
The Inspiring Women Awards event celebrated its 25th anniversary in the best way possible - recognising even more incredible North West women, writes Rebekka O’grady.
Held in the city where one of the most inspirational women in the world was born, it seemed fitting to open this year’s Inspiring Women Awards ceremony in Manchester with a tribute to the leader of the British suffragette movement, Emmeline Pankhurst.
Founder and organiser of the event, Jacqueline Hughes-Lundy, spoke at The Midland Hotel about how the political activist took a stance to enable other women to be free, paving the way for today’s inspirational women.
Many of these women have since been recognised in the annual ceremony, which this year celebrated its 25th anniversary by raising the roof in support of even more amazing ladies. Cheshire Life and Lancashire Life magazines were proud sponsors of the event again this year, which got off to a flying start with the announcement of the Business Award.
Prior to receiving her award, Maggie Noone told master of ceremonies, Sky Sports presenter Angela Powers, that if she can inspire other women, in particular her three daughters, then all for the better. The Bredbury business woman is the sales director of R Noone and Son Ltd, a fresh produce distribution company in Stockport. She joined the business, run by her husband Mike, at the point when the high street collapsed and the company looked to be in trouble.Today, they now supply 650 customers and have 95 members of staff.
‘It’s a real success story, what we have been through. It was all about listening and adapting to the market. We work out of a 50 miles radius around Bredbury and we’re increasing our presence in Cheshire and Liverpool thanks to all the amazing independents they have there. We were turning over £1 million 15 years ago; this year we have done £12 million. I’ve just played my part in a wonderful team who all deserve to be here with me.’
Resounding applause was given to the winner of the second award, Inspiring Young Woman. Not only is Menna Fitzpatrick an award-winning skier, the 19-year-old from Macclesfield navigates the slopes with less than 5% vision. Led by her guide Jennifer Kehoe, the pair already made history in 2016 at the International Paralympic Committee World Cup by becoming the first British skiers to win the overall World Cup Visually Impaired title.Her next goal is to claim gold at her first Paralympics in South Korea next year.
- 1 16 of the best spots for al fresco dining in Essex
- 2 Win a holiday for two on the Isles of Scilly
- 3 12 of the best places to eat al fresco in Yorkshire
- 4 Sussex pubs with beer gardens to visit this summer
- 5 12 outdoor dining experiences in Surrey
- 6 21 of the best places to eat al fresco in Hampshire
- 7 10 National Garden Scheme open gardens to visit in Cheshire this summer
- 8 16 of the best beer gardens in Essex
- 9 Win a short break in London at The Dilly on Piccadilly
- 10 10 pubs with pretty beer gardens in Canterbury
‘I am so honoured and delighted to win this. I ski as I love it and I want to inspire others to try something different,’ said Menna, who has skied since the age of five. She said people are often surprised when they see how independent she is. ‘I’ve been visiting my old primary school, Prestbury Church of England, to talk to some of the pupils about how important it is to stay in P.E. and what you can achieve. I’ve grown up like any non-disabled child and I live my life to the fullest.’
Winner of the Professional and Financial Services award was Alison Loveday, CEO of Berg Legal. Alison, who lives in Heaton Moor, praised the legal sector for its work toward becoming gender equal, commenting on the fact she thinks that it is moving into a more female-dominated environment. Initially Alison didn’t want to be a lawyer but has since forged a fantastic career, creating a nationally recognised department known for its expertise and advice across a range of employment issues from discrimination through to whistle-blowing.
Aisha Latif already lived a busy life before deciding to launch her own business, Ash Cosmetics, three years ago. Mum to three babies under the age of five, the biomedical sciences graduate works full-time in cancer research as well as being the director of the cosmetics company – making her a worthy winner of the Entrepreneur category.
To help overcome anxiety while on maternity, Manchester-based Aisha took a short make-up artistry course and found a gap in the market for highly pigmented products. Her range is now celebrated by those in the fashion and media industry, as well as ordinary women and those with pigmentation and acne problems.
‘I’m overwhelmed; I never imagined it would get to this point. I am just as passionate about make-up as I am cancer research, so it’s hard to pick between the two but I think this year I will have to decide whether to let go of my science career and continue with Ash Cosmetics.’
Many ladies were on their feet or in tears when the final award of the afternoon was awarded to Dee Drake. Winner of the Community award, Dee works tirelessly each year to provide children with toys for Christmas – gifts they would have not otherwise received.
She launched the Lalley Toy Appeal in 2013 with her husband, Chris, from their home in Knutsford, and to date with the help of 200 volunteers in the Cheshire area they have provided 4,200 children with sacks of toys, each personalised to their gender and age. Dee does all this in her spare time, as the couple both have full time careers.
‘This award was very unexpected. My husband and I don’t have children so it fills a big gap in our lives. However we now have thousands of children who open presents on Christmas morning. I am so proud of how far we have come and it’s a great feeling to know that we have helped them. It could be children who are in social services, whose parents have fallen on hard times or possibly, are in jail. Last year we managed to do 1,900 sacks, I am aiming to help 4,000 children this year – I am determined.’
The 2017 Winners
Entrepreneur award sponsored by Arbuthnot Latham
As a teenager, Aisha struggled to find the correct products for acne and hyper-pigmentation, leading to self-confidence issues. Difficulties while on maternity leave led the graduate in biomedical sciences feeling broken. She decided to take a short make-up artistry course and while consulting she found a gap in the market. The entrepreneur then travelled the world to find a group of chemists who she could work with to formulate cosmetic products of highest level of purity and quality, as well as vegan, cruelty free and EU regulated.
Ash Cosmetics launched three years ago and are recognised with the film, fashion and media industry, winning Best Beauty Product Award for 2017 at the Fashion and Beauty Awards UK. Today the mum of three still works full time in cancer research, while working late nights to make this dream come a reality.
Inspiring Young Woman award sponsored by Cheshire Life and Lancashire Life
An 18-year-old Paralympic skier in Team GB, Menna has less than 5% vision and is guided down the mountain by her guide, Jennifer Kehoe. In her first season competing at World Cup level, they made history at the International Paralympic Committee World Cup in 2016 by becoming the first British skiers to win the overall World Cup Visually Impaired title.
In March 2017, she won two gold medals at the Slalom and Giant Slalom events in France. She will be competing in Chile, Norway and Germany later in the year before taking part in her first Paralympics in South Korea in 2018.
Business award sponsored by Deloitte
Maggie is the sales director of R Noone and Son Ltd, a fresh produce distribution company in Stockport. Prior to this, she had a successful career in pharmaceutical sales and an arts background. She joined the business, run by her husband Mike, at the point when the high street collapsed. Part time sales person, full time medical rep and full time mum of three, she grabbed the phone book and went on from there.
The business now supplies 650 customers and has 95 members of staff. Maggie and Mike won the MFDF’s Lifetime Contribution award two years ago and know their wonderful customers had a lot to do with that nomination.
Community award sponsored by BBC Radio Manchester
In 2016, The Lalley Toy Appeal was able to provide a Christmas sack of toys to 1,900 children in the Manchester and Cheshire area. Each toy sack is made specifically for each child, based on their age, gender and any special needs they may have. Dee Drake works tirelessly throughout the year to make this happen, counting toys in storage, fund raising and thinking of ways to help the underprivileged.
The Lalley is based in Levenshulme and Dee made it onto TV in 2015 as part of the documentary, At the Lalley, alongside her inspiration Sister Rita, also known as Atilla the Nun! Dee is aiming to produce 4,000 sacks in 2017.
Professional and Financial Services award sponsored by Manchester Metropolitan University
CEO of Berg Legal, Alison has used her experience as a commercial litigator to create a department nationally recognised for its expertise, unusually representing both employers and employees, and advising across the whole range of employment issues from discrimination to whistle-blowing and beyond.
She is chair of business development organisation Pro-Manchester, and also contributes to its committees focusing on skills, science, technology and women in business. Alison is also an ambassador for charity Antz Network and is a supporter of and contributor to apprenticeship and development schemes across Manchester.