2013 Inspiring Women Awards at Manchester’s Midland Hotel

Inspiring Women Founder, Jacqueline Hughes-Lundy, with BBC Presenters, Andy Crane, Louise Minchin

Inspiring Women Founder, Jacqueline Hughes-Lundy, with BBC Presenters, Andy Crane, Louise Minchin and Sally Nugent - Credit: Archant

Women of exceptional courage, bravery and talent were celebrated at the 21st Inspiring Women Awards at the Midland Hotel in Manchester. PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN COCKS

Inspiring Women 2013 Business WINNER, Prof. Dame Nancy Rothwell

Inspiring Women 2013 Business WINNER, Prof. Dame Nancy Rothwell - Credit: Archant

Tears, laughter and standing ovations marked the 21st annual Inspiring Women Awards. The stories of courage and tenacity revealed by the nomineees brought gasps of admiration from the 300 guests at the North-West’s most prestigious awards for the women.

Jacqueline Hughes Lundy with Louise Teague-McCarthy,director and actress Kay Mellor, and Sita Willia

Jacqueline Hughes Lundy with Louise Teague-McCarthy,director and actress Kay Mellor, and Sita Williams who collected the Creative and Media Award on behalf of Sue Woodward - Credit: Archant

Inspiring Women 2013 Community JOINT WINNERS Joanne Thompson and Nicola Graham flanked by Jacqueli

Inspiring Women 2013 Community JOINT WINNERS Joanne Thompson and Nicola Graham flanked by Jacqueline Hughes Lundy and former Granada News presenter So Rahman - Credit: Archant

BBC Radio Manchester Heroine WINNER Paula Solomon and husband, Martin

BBC Radio Manchester Heroine WINNER Paula Solomon and husband, Martin - Credit: Archant

For the first time in the Awards’ history a joint winner was announced for the Community Award. Joanne Thompson from Bramhall and Nicola Graham both lost babies in tragic circumstances, yet both channelled their grief to help others and remember their babies, Millie and Reuben.

Inspiring Women 2013 Entrepreneur WINNER, Lisa Tse

Inspiring Women 2013 Entrepreneur WINNER, Lisa Tse - Credit: Archant

Inspiring Young Woman Kirsty Ashton flanked by Jacqueline Hughes Lundy and Sally Nugent

Inspiring Young Woman Kirsty Ashton flanked by Jacqueline Hughes Lundy and Sally Nugent - Credit: Archant

Cheshire Life and Lancashire Life magazines were delighted to be part of the 300 audience at the Midland Hotel, Manchester. Cheshire Life editor, Louise Allen-Taylor said: ‘We are proud to have been associated with Inspiring Women all these years. I have great pleasure attending this event each year and the award-winning women and nominees are truly an inspiration to us all.’

The lunch was opened and closed by songwriter Claire Mooney, who wrote an ‘Inspiring Women’ song which had everyone laughing and singing. Master of ceremonies, BBC broadcaster Andy Crane brought out the best from the 15 finalists who told their stories before the winners were announced by celebrity guests.

BBC Breakfast duo Louise Minchin and Sally Nugent both explained how much they love living in the North-West. Screenwriter Kay Mellor OBE hilariously demonstrated how she took a call from Steven Speilberg who has bought the rights to The Syndicate for ABC. Capital FM presenter Sally Hudson couldn’t contain her excitement at being at the awards and comedian Justin Moorhouse lived up to his job description with one liners about ‘feminism’.

The final award presenter was Chester-born broadcaster, So Rahman, who had hosted the awards for three years while working at Granada and flown in especially from Delhi where he is now based with Al Jazeera news.

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Founder and organiser of the Awards, businesswoman Jacqueline Hughes-Lundy from Hale, Cheshire, told the audience: ‘It seems incredible that a one-off lunch to raise funds for Tommy’s Campaign has evolved to reach this milestone and while things have changed the philosophy remains the same – to recognise and applaud the achievements of women in the North West.’

The Awards support the Inspiring Young Women Foundation charity.


BBC Radio Manchester award: Margaret Mayne; Karen Seddon; Paula Solomon

Business award: Carol Kane, Dawn McDaid, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell

Creative and Media: Sandy Lindsay, Janine Waters, Sue Woodward OBE

Community: Nicola Graham from Mottram-in-Longdendale, Mags Smith. Joanne Thompson from Bramhall

Entrepreneur: Alex Douglas-Kane, Sara Jones, Lisa Tse of Middleton, Rochdale

Inspiring Young Woman: Kirsty Ashton MBE



Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, became President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester in 2010 and is a distinguished life scientist specialising in neuroscience. In 2004 she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society.

She was named the 15th most influential woman in the BBC Radio 4 Top 100 women survey. She is a non-executive director of AstraZeneca and Deputy Lieutenant for Greater Manchester, a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology and the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership.


Nicola Graham

In August last year, Nicola Graham from Mottram-in-Longdendale near Hyde tragically lost her 23-month-old son Reuben to a rare brain tumour. Nicola vowed that Reuben’s passing would not be in vain and so Reuben’s Retreat was born. Nicola and her family want to create a place where families with sick children can relax, recharge and build memories together. Nicola’s goal is to raise £1 million in 23 months (the number of months Reuben was alive) and she is well on the way to reaching that target having already raised around £280,000.

Joanne Thompson

On October 23rd 2012 Millie’s daddy, Dan, took her to nursery school for her third day. Just before lunchtime Joanne from Bramhall, received a phone call from Dan. As Millie was being fed lunch she choked to death at nursery. Joanne and Dan have set up MILLIESTRUST.COM to raise awareness that everybody, especially anyone who looks after children, should have First Aid Knowledge. They have also raised £17,000 so they can pay for people to attend first aid courses, who cannot afford it themselves. They aim to raise £25,000 by the six month anniversary of Millie’s death. They are also campaigning to change a ruling that each nursery only needs one first aider on site.


Sue Woodward OBE

Susan is the Project Director for The Sharp Project - a digital media development in East Manchester which focuses on growing the digital and creative sector utilising the Project’s unique combination of space, power and broadband connectivity. Sue’s vision for The Sharp Project is to create its own eco-system where start-ups can flourish within a vibrant business community. The Sharp Project now expanding in to a second building, is helping Manchester become the ‘go to’ place for film and TV production and is also supporting Manchester’s ambition to be a global tech city by 2020. Sue was previously MD at Granada TV and Creative Director at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.


Lisa Tse

Lisa from Middleton set up the Sweet Mandarin Sauce company last year. It is now sold in 500 Sainsbury stores; Selfridges; Amazon.co.uk; Booths and Wing Yip. She is now supplying the sauces to Russia, Germany and Switzerland.

She is so dedicated to the ‘Made In Britain’ status that Lisa has bought a factory in the UK to manufacture these sauces. These are the only Chinese sauces in the UK which are gluten free, vegan registered and approved by the vegetarian society. She sent a supply to HRH The Queen, who was ‘delighted’ and these sauces have been featured on BBC Breakfast and Dragons’ Den.

Lisa is co-founder of the Sweet Mandarin restaurant, in Manchester’s Northern Quarter which won the Best Local Chinese Restaurant on Gordon Ramsay’s programme: ‘The F Word’


Paula Solomon

When Paula’s 20 year old son Martin was struck down a second time from Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma, he was told that without a bone marrow/stem cell donor he would die. Paula, from Sale, took it upon herself to set up the Match4Martin campaign along with family and friends in order to find the donor Martin most desperately needed, since although a Anthony Nolan bone marrow charity have carried out a worldwide search no match can be found. The difficulty is Martin’s Irish/Afro-Caribbean heritage. Against the odds, it now seems Martin may have beaten the disease thanks to a new drug from The Christie, yet to be rolled out across the UK. Paula, however, will continue with the campaign just in case the cancer returns and to support others like Martin.


Kirsty Ashton MBE

In 2012, Kirsty, from Wythenshawe, was the youngest person ever to receive an MBE. At the age of 8, Kirsty went on a trip with the charity ‘When you wish upon a star’. She met and made friends with Chloe – best friends forever. A few weeks later, Chloe died from leukaemia. Kirsty decided to raise funds for the charity that had given her and Chloe that trip. So in January 2000, Kirsty and her brother Christopher sold their Christmas gifts in their front garden to raise funds.

Kirsty has neurofibromatosis (NF), a condition manifesting as tumours within her body and at eight years also being diagnosed with scoliosis, she has already been operated on 50 times. Despite her own problems, Kirsty raised more than £160,000 for her chosen charity. In 2008 she also raised £65,000 to send 100 poorly children to Lapland. Kirsty is too busy raising money for others to feel sorry for herself, and that is on top of writing a book about her life with the condition, which was published in 2011 ‘Kirsty’s Story’ Living with Neurofibromatosis and Scoliosis . Kirsty also gives the royalties from her book to charity. Kirsty is committed to helping one of her doctors who has set up a new charity “Children With Tumours”. The plan is to send children with tumours on holiday. She is currently working on CBBC with an ambition to meet her hero Peter Andre!