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This year’s special, 60th anniversary Women of the Year Lunch & Awards took place today (Monday 19 October) at the InterContinental London Park Lane. More than 400 women attended and of these outstanding women, six were honoured with Women of the Year Awards.

The 2015 Women of the Year Award winners were selected for their perseverance and courage in the face of some of the most serious issues facing women today:

  • Cokie van der Velde, Barclays Women of the Year Award winner
  • Kristin Hallenga, DFS Women of the Year Award winner –  Outstanding Young Campaigner
  • Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Prudential Women of the Year Award winner – Lifetime Achievement
  • Jayne Senior, Good Housekeeping Women of the Year Award winner –  Outstanding Achievement
  • Dame Stephanie Shirley, Women of the Year Special Award
  • Pat Rogers ITV’s Lorraine Inspirational Woman of the Year Award winner – this award is chosen by the ITV Lorraine viewers

The Women of the Year award winners were chosen by a judging panel of accomplished women: Sandi Toksvig CBE, Sue MacGregor CBE, Dame Tessa Jowell MP, Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE, Jane Luca, Ronke Phillips, Eve Pollard OBE, Lisa Markwell, Gill Carrick and Sue Walton. ITV Lorraine viewers voted for their Inspirational Woman of the Year by a phone vote.

Sandi Toksvig, President of Women of the Year, said: “Women of the Year has celebrated the wonderful achievements of women since 1955.  Everyone involved is incredibly proud to see so many extraordinary women carrying the torch of those who came before. The remarkable women who make up the attendees and winners at this year’s Lunch are being recognised for their strides in making the world a better place.”

Every woman who is invited to the event has achieved something extraordinary in whatever walk of life she comes from. The lunch is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate their bravery, determination, compassion and success.

Attendees included: cheesemaker Claire Burt who produces award winning cheeses with Burts Cheese; GB Paralympian Georgie Bullen, who helps tackle unemployment among visually impaired and blind people; WW2 veterans Joy Lofthouse, who flew a range of different aircraft including a Spitfire to strategic battle points and Eileen Younghusband who alerted allied forces to the first V2 bombing of London, whilst serving in the Women’s Auxiliary Air force.

There were many familiar faces amongst the attendees, with guests including Nadiya Hussain, Kathy Lette, Lady Kitty Spencer, Katie Melua, Professor Mary Beard, Mel Giedroyc, Natalie Bennett, Katherine Grainger, Anne Reid, Dame Esther Rantzen, Meera Syal, Baroness Shirley Williams, Professor Dame Sally Davies, Jasmine Hemsley, Justine Greening MP, Baroness Helena Kennedy and Baroness Floella Benjamin.

The ceremony was hosted by Women of the Year President, Sandi Toksvig, and the awards were introduced by actress Nicole Kidman, comedian Jo Brand, Coronation Street star Sally Dynevor, newscaster Julie Etchingham and broadcaster Lorraine Kelly.