When we were 50

1955 – The Way We Were:

It was in 1955 that campaigner and journalist Tony Lothian, together with war heroine Odette Hallowes and journalist Georgina Coleridge, first assembled leading women from all occupations as Women of the Year at The Savoy, London.


Women of the Year Award
Annie Lennox, singer, songwriter and philanthropist. An exceptional woman who was recognised for her selflessness in her fight to raise awareness of the plight of the women and children of Africa who have suffered from the devastation wrought by HIV/AIDS.

Outstanding Achievement Award
Zaha Hadid, born in Baghdad, an exceptional woman and multi-award winning architect, who through her spirit and perseverance has gained acceptance in a male-dominated world and graced the world with some extraordinary ideas.

The “You Can” Award
Shara Brice who, with her team, is recognised as having created one of the UK’s most ethnically diverse and effective youth programmes – the Ascension Eagles.

Window to the World Award
Susie Hart, a lady who has changed the lives of the disabled people of Tanzania who were shunned by society. The café she set up, run completely by deaf people, was voted Best Restaurant in Tanzania in 2010.


Women of the Year Award
Emily Cummins, a young inventor who revolutionised Village Africa with her solar-powered refrigerator. She strives to change the lives of so many in the poorer parts of the world with her innovative ideas.

Outstanding Achievement Award
Hilary Henriques, who in 1990 after her own difficult childhood, set up the National Association for Children of Alcoholics – a small national charity that provides advice and support. Its helpline offers young people a friendly, and caring, voice at the end of the phone to talk to in moments of despair.

Lifetime Achievement Award
Dame Vera Lynn DBE, at 92 years of age, reached number 1 slot in the music charts for her war time classic ‘We’ll Meet Again’. An exceptional woman and a much loved woman of our time.

Window to the World Award
Jane Walker, a woman who set about to change the lives of the rubbish tip children of Manilla. In 10 years she has founded and built a school for the children made of containers with help from their parents and in the evening, educates the parents.


Women of the Year Award
Shy Keenan and Sara Payne were recognised for their courage and spirit.  Following tragic circumstances they have prevailed as champions for change and striven to make the world a better place and have campaigned tirelessly and with dignity to protect the rights of children.

Outstanding Achievement Award
Nina Barough, who organised the very first Moonwalk, a marathon trek around the streets of London in the middle of the night to raise money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

Window to the World Award
Ann Cotton, a woman whose courage and determination brought to our attention an international issue, in this case, the educational deprivation of young women in Zimbabwe.

Food for Thought Award
Claire Hicks who not only built the international Impact programme which is a global initiative that prevents major causes of disability, but has a obsession with a project called ‘Hidden Hunger’ which specifically addresses malnutrition which affects 800 million people globally.


Women of the Year Award
Sister Frances Dominica, nun and pioneer to the hospice movement. She is founder of the first children’s hospice in the world called Helen & Douglas House, which provides care to children with life-limiting illnesses. Sister Frances is a truly exceptional woman, who has helped and influenced people around the world both personally and professionally.

Outstanding Achievement Award
Rose Molokoane, a South African veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle. This courageous and determined woman is one of the most internationally recognised grassroots activists involved in land.

Lifetime Achievement Award
Marguerite Patten OBE.

Window to the World Award
Jasvinder Sanghira has campaigned for the rights of victims of forced marriage, domestic violence and honour killings. She refused her own forced marriage and broke the silence by sharing her experience, and the experiences of her six older sisters, who were all taken to India to marry and then found themselves trapped in abusive and oppressive relationships. It is her belief and courage that has opened a window of opportunity to those in need.


Outstanding Achievement Award Sponsored by Good Housekeeping

Jane Tomlinson MBE.  In August 2000, Jane was diagnosed with advanced metastatic breast cancer which was deemed to be incurable. Since that diagnosis, Jane’s determination took her on a journey to complete a host of sporting achievements including a full Ironman (4km Swim, 180Km bike ride and full marathon – completed inside 17 hours), the London Marathon three times, the New York Marathon and three long distance bike rides – her final huge challenge a 6781.8 km ride across America. She raised her target £1,250,000 for UK and American based cancer and children’s charities. Jane sadly passed away on 3 September 2007.

Window to the World Award – sponsored by Pilkington plc

Thabitha Khumalo, a Zimbabwean, is a mother, trade unionist and a women’s right campaigner. She has been arrested 22 times and tortured as a result of her fight for the basic female human right to have access to sanitary protection. The life expectancy of women in Zimbabwe is 34 and is the lowest in the world, as they have no proper sanitary conditions available. Thabitha’s mission is to continue campaigning and bring this into the international forum.


Shine Award – sponsored by Women in the Arts

Nicky Webb and Helen Marriage – Nicky and Helen were instrumental in bringing the Sultan’s Elephant, a 12-metre high mechanical elephant and 5.5-metre high little girl moving art exhibition to the streets of London in May 2006. They were recognised for following their passion to challenge the way we view the world in which we live through bringing live art to the streets of the capital.


Women of the Year Award – given by Women of the Year

Camila Batmanghelidjh, Founder and director of Kids Company, a charity for children in inner London, Camila believes in offering care, practical and emotional support to vulnerable children, often when they have suffered neglect and exclusion elsewhere. Camila’s visionary approach, which insists on holding the door wide open to the hopeless, the turbulent and the vulnerable, deemed her a winner for the 2006 title.


The 50th Anniversary

Outstanding Achievement Award – sponsored by Good Housekeeping

The McCartney Sisters – for their bravery in standing up to the IRA and gaining international recognition for the reality of life in Belfast.  Their campaign represents a shattering of the omerta tradition on a spectacular scale – families with members killed by the IRA are very often bitter but mostly kept their feelings to themselves.


Window to the World – sponsored by Pilkington plc

Claire Bertschinger – a 30year old British field nurse in Ethiopia whose interview with BBC’s Michael Buerk, inspired Bob Geldof to set up Live Aid in 1984. With only so much food to provide meals for hundreds of children in the International Red Cross centre in Mekele, it was left to her to select which children would go into the camp and those that did not.


Lifetime Achievement Award – sponsored by Lloyds TSB

The Rt Hon Margaret Thatcher QM PC FRS – first British Prime Minister. During her career had achieved pre-eminence in her chosen field and has been an inspiration to other women to strive and to achieve ore in their own work.


Women of the Year 2005 Award

Tina Turner – a new award given to an exceptional woman whose conduct in both her personal and her public life has been both brave and bold; building her life on her own terms and motivating women throughout the world to survive and to succeed with style and character.


Outstanding Achievement Award – sponsored by Good Housekeeping

Dame Kelly Holmes – one of the greatest British female Olympian of all time achieving her historic double in the 2004 Olympics. She is the only British woman to win two Olympic athletic gold medals and the first Briton to win both Olympic middle distance events for 84 years. Kelly also broke her own British record for the event.


Craymer Award for Enterprise

Josette Bushell-Mingo, founded the Push Festival in 2001 at the Young Vic. The Festival was set up to change black communities perception of themselves and to galvanise mainstream institutions to take on diversity in a much more visible way.


Frink Award – given by Women of the Year

Jane Tomlinson since being told she was suffering from incurable cancer in 2000, Jane has inspired the Nation by running in a phenomenal variety of races, including the London Marathon, London Triathlon, Great North Run Gatorade half Ironman Triathlon and cycling on a tandem bike with her brother from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Her fundraising efforts for Cancer Charities through Jane’s Appeal, reached the £1m barrier – her target for 2004.


The Capital Radio BIG VOICE Award

Ms Dynamite, for her stand against guns after the shooting in Birmingham of two teenage girls during New Year 2002.   She showed great courage to stand up and speak out against any form of crime without any thought of the backlash that could have come her way.


Window to the World Award – sponsored by Pilkington plc

Charlotte de Vita, Founder of Trade plus Aid who significantly raised the incomes of communities throughout the developing world often in very difficult and intimidating circumstances.  Her trading initiatives returned US$5,000,000 to producer groups in 21 countries. Her courage, determination and compassion are an inspiration to women throughout the world.


Outstanding Achievement Award – sponsored by Good Housekeeping

Birdie McDonald, a 62-year-old Afro-Caribbean woman who started fostering in 1974 and by 2003 had fostered over 700 children in addition to bringing up three children of her own.  It was a tremendous feat to have helped so many children and young people and the ‘happy endings’ on reaching adulthood of so many of them was a true indication of her skill, love and commitment as a foster parent.


The Frink Award – given by Women of the Year

Sue Townsend, blinded after suffering from diabetes for many years, achieved worldwide success following the publication of her Diaries of Adrian Mole which transformed the lives of literally millions of people. The first of her comic series, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 133/4, was published in 1982 and the eighth installment, Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years was released in 2009. Her career flourished despite her diabetes.


Outstanding Achievement Award – Sponsored by Good Housekeeping

Paula Radcliffe, is one of the greatest distance runners in the world after winning the 2002 London Marathon and smashing the UK and European record.  She won the Chicago Marathon in 2002 and is three-time New York Marathon champion. To achieve this, she overcame a potentially debilitating health condition (asthma) to achieve her goals.


Window to the World Award – Sponsored by Pilkington plc

Irene Khan, Head of Amnesty International. The first woman in its history to lead this influential human rights organisation that has over a million members in 140 countries.


Barbour Award
- Sponsored by Barbour & Sons Ltd

Judy Craymer, was given this Award for her foresight and determination in producing and staging the world wide musical hit Mamma Mia!


The Frink Award – given by Women of the Year

Leah Pattison, a 28 year old, who contracted leprosy when working as a volunteer in India in 1997, and became knows as ‘The Angel of Nagpur’. She was recognised for her efforts to publicise the issue of women in India afflicted with the disease.