Winners’ blog: Marilyn
4th September 2014 by Natalie Burns
Marilyn Baldwin is the founder of anti-scamming charity Think Jessica and was awarded the ITV’s Lorraine Inspirational Woman of the Year award in October 2013.
Please describe your experience at the Women of the Year Lunch
I had a fabulous day and it was very well organised. When the other two finalists, Siobhan Bogues and Sandra Barber, and I arrived at the InterContinental Hotel for the Lunch, the photographers made us feel like we were celebrities.
The atmosphere was great; the speakers and winners were all very inspirational and it was quite emotional at times, but overall it was a fantastic day.
What did winning the ITV Lorraine award voted by the general public mean to you?
Winning the ITV’s Lorraine Inspirational Woman of the Year award was an honour and a brilliant achievement for the charity. The award was a great way to draw attention to the work we do at Think Jessica and raise awareness of the millions of silent victims who are affected by postal scams and associated telephone fraud.
Furthermore, to think that the Lorraine viewers actually picked up the phone to vote for me felt amazing. In fact, from all the excitement, I don’t think I have even thanked them! I am truly grateful to the Lorraine viewers and it means a lot to have their support.
Why are award ceremonies like the Women of the Year Lunch important?
Lots of celebrities raise money for charities and help others, but it’s easier to get a voice and promote your cause when you’re famous. Although it’s fantastic that celebrities use their fame for a good cause, there are also many ordinary women all over the country who dedicate their time to helping others who may never get any recognition. However, the Women of the Year Lunch & Awards give everyday women, who may never be in the spotlight, a chance to be recognised, thanked and appreciated.
Which women have been inspirations in your life and why?
Of course my mother inspired me to set up the charity, but I’m always being inspired by fantastic women whenever I watch the news or open a newspaper. There are so many women who go to extraordinary lengths to help others and I admire passionate, everyday women who sacrifice their own comfort to make a difference to other people’s lives.
What has been your biggest achievement to date and what goals do you have for the future?
One of my biggest achievements would have to be receiving my OBE for bringing together for the first time police, mail providers and the government to form a working partnership against postal scammers. When I first started Think Jessica in 2007, I was a lone voice as nobody understood the scale of the problem and the financial and mental impact these scams have on elderly people. However postal scams are now being taken seriously and are estimated to be netting over £10 billion a year, calculated from identified victims. Millions more are still silent.
My goal for the future is to make Think Jessica a household name and educate the nation about postal scams and bring a stop this type of fraud and the misery it causes once and for all.
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