Celebrating women from across sport, health, science and wellness in our 65th Women of the Year Awards.
The 2019 Women of the Year Lunch and Awards took place today (Monday 14 October) at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, where more than 400 women were all recognised as ‘Women of the Year’ for their individual achievements this year. Five of these outstanding women were honoured with Women of the Year Awards for their selfless dedication to their fields of work. The event was hosted by celebrated TV presenter, actress and comedian Mel Giedroyc.
Julie Etchingham, President of Women of the Year, said: “Since its inception, Women of the Year has proudly recognised and celebrated the achievements of some of the world’s most selfless women who have made a huge difference to people’s lives. Now, over sixty years on, we continue to shine a light on women whose commitment to their chosen field or cause is nothing short of inspiring. I am proud to honour each of this year’s winners for their ongoing determination and the positive impact they are making.”
The Barclays Sportswoman of the Year Award was presented to Jasmin Paris. Jasmin this year completed the inspirational feat to become the first woman to win the gruelling 268 mile Montane Spine Race along the Pennine Way. Jasmin shattered the course record by an astonishing 12 hours, whilst expressing breast milk for her baby at aid stations along the way. Alongside this incredibly feat, Jasmin has a full time career as a veterinarian and is completing a doctorate focused on acute myeloid leukaemia at the University of Edinburgh. The award was presented by former England Head Netball Coach, Tracey Neville.
Women of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Dr Rola Hallam, a British-Syrian consultant anesthetist and founder of CanDo, a social enterprise that allows humanitarians the opportunity to provide healthcare to countries in need. In December 2016, Rola and CanDo initiated the People’s Convoy with logistics partners, Across the Divide. They used crowdfunding to take enough medical supplies from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital London to Syria to open the world’s first crowdfunded hospital. The convoy was a monumental success and the initial target of £90,000 was surpassed raising in total £246,505 – enough to supply the hospital and run it for six months. Building on this success, CanDo launched a platform in 2017 to leverage the power of crowdfunding to help Syrian partners fundraise for their communities most in need in the region which Dr Hallam continues to lead today. The award was presented by Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
British author, TV presenter and space scientist, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock won the Woman of the Year Innovation Award, Sponsored by Vodafone, recognised for her unrelenting determination to be innovative and inspirational in the world of science education. Maggie is well known for her presenting the long-running astronomy television programme ‘The Sky at Night’ award and is recognised as a pioneering figure in communicating science to the public. She also owns Science Innovation Ltd., which engages children and adults children. The award was presented by Head Stemette Anne Marie Imafidon.
The Hygiene Bank founder, Lizzy Hall took home the Boots ‘Wellness Warrior’ Award. Lizzy founded The Hygiene Bank last summer when she realised her local food bank rarely received donations of hygiene products, despite a high demand and 80% of teachers reporting an increase in bullying in schools due to hygiene in the last five years. Many report having to intervene personally to help pupils buy essentials such as soap and toothpaste because they are coming to school unwashed and in dirty clothes. In the last year, The Hygiene Bank has become a registered charity, and has established nearly 400 drop off points across the country and delivered over 30,000kg of hygiene products. The award was presented by model and activist Noella Coursaris.
ITV Lorraine viewers voted for their Inspirational Woman of the Year by a telephone vote. The winner was Natasha Benjamin who was nominated for Free Your Mind, a child domestic violence and trauma support and awareness service. The service was born out of Natasha’s own experience with domestic violence as a child, and her desire to advocate for children who can be left out of the conversation around domestic violence. The service provides therapeutic support to children as well as training and workshops for schools and local authorities.