Winner’s blog: Kate Woolveridge

Winner’s blog: Kate Woolveridge

6th August 2013 by Natalie Burns

Back to Winner’s blog: Kate Woolveridge

In 2012, professional singer Kate Woolveridge won ITV’s Lorraine Inspirational Woman of the Year Award. Kate was recognised for her work with the Forget-me-Not Chorus, a Cardiff-based charity which supports people with dementia and their carers through weekly singing sessions.

What did winning the award mean to you?
My first reaction was total humility – I couldn’t quite believe that I’d been nominated, let alone that I’d won. I really felt that the work I was doing was no more remarkable than the incredible work going on all over the place!

Once the news had sunk in, I felt delighted that the work of my friends and colleagues in the choir was being honoured and that, through me, people were realising what an amazing group of people they are.

Winning the award really helped to raise the profile of dementia and singing, too. People from all over the country got in touch asking how to set up their own choir, which was so encouraging.

Describe your experience at the Lunch
I was overwhelmed. The whole idea of getting 400 women together in one place – some of them very well known (I was particularly excited to be in the same room as Maureen Lipman!), others who aren’t particularly famous and do fantastic work in their community – is an incredibly powerful thing. The experience is something I’ll never forget.

Why are award ceremonies like the Women of the Year Lunch important?

The Women of the Year Lunch reminded me that there are so many great women out there doing incredible things and making a difference to the world around them. I had no idea it would feel like such an immense, powerful event.

I came away with a renewed sense of how important it is that we all do our little bit in the community. I came away feeling inspired and determined to work harder.

Which women have been inspirations in your life and why?
The women who inspire me are the people I’ve grown up with and the people who surround me now. There are so many incredibly strong women, who hold down a job, bring up families, yet still have time for everybody. One friend of mine has a disabled son, and manages to work as a midwife, look after her family and just gets on with life brilliantly.

The women in the choir who care for a partner suffering with dementia are also incredibly inspirational. These women look after their partners 24/7 and go on an extremely difficult journey with them. The love that they show is truly inspiring.

What has been your biggest achievement to date and what goals do you have for the future?
My biggest achievement is the balance I have been able to maintain in my life. I have two children and a marriage that’s lasted 23 years, and I’m also a professional singer who’s managed to form a choir and give back something using the skills that I have.

My goal for the future is to stay open to new opportunities, and dare to try new things when they come my way. Life sends you on a bit of a journey, which can be difficult to plan out, so I hope I’ll continue to open the doors that I encounter, step in and see what happens.

In terms of the choir, we’re really excited about an upcoming project which will see the creation of a new piece of art about living with dementia. We’ll be working with a writer, composer and professional musicians and singers on something that’s never been done before – we can’t wait to get started!


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