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Awesome and amazing were just a couple of the words used to describe the impressive women honoured at the Inspiring Women Awards at Manchester's Midland Hotel<br/>PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN COCKS

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The 18th annual Inspiring Women Awards celebrated the achievements of exceptional local women in style at the historic Midland Hotel, Manchester, and once again Cheshire Life and sister magazine, Lancashire Life, were there to celebrate with the winners.


Guests at the Awards Lunch were touched by the stories of 12 extraordinary women across four categories, with the Award winners being announced to standing ovations. The Inspiring Women Awards, sponsored by Britannia and The Co-operative Bank, part of The Co-operative Financial Services was also celebrating a significant birthday and to mark its coming of age, Founder and Award organiser, Jacqueline Hughes-Lundy introduced The Inspiring Young Women Award and The Inspiring Young Women Foundation. This will recognise and support the next generation of inspiring young women aged between 16-25 years of age.


The quality and diversity of the nominees this year had made the judging process very difficult, said Jacqueline, who was delighted that after 18 years, the Awards are still uncovering talent, commitment and passion, and providing powerful role models to inspire.


The 2010 Awards were presented by Neville Richardson, CEO of The Co-operative Financial Services and guest speaker was Angela Spindler, CEO of The Original Factory Shop. Master of Ceremonies Trevor Hunt interviewed the finalists, bringing their stories to life to delight the diners.


Cheshire Life and Lancashire Life are proud to be media supporters of this prestigious event, which was broadcast live by BBC Radio Manchester and featured on Sky Sports programme, Boots n All, which followed players from Salford City Reds RFLC, who were supporting the Awards for the third year.


The Charity Appeal was on behalf of The inspiring Young Women Foundation.

Public Sector category
Dominique Whittington

Dominique, from Manchester, is a senior manager within the Special Projects Section for the City Council, which manages and delivers the Citys large scale capital regeneration projects. Organisations that Dominique has directly supported and developed include The Zion Arts Centre; The Peoples History Museum; The Cornerhouse; Urbis and The Bridgewater Hall. Managers comment that at 31 years of age, she shows great maturity in her ability to handle challenging stakeholders, from successful business leaders to local councillors and has been instrumental in negotiating complex contracts. She has inspired trust and respect from a range of partners, many at very senior levels.

Community category
Irene Brown

For the past 10 years Irene Brown, from Urmston, along with her husband, Steve, has helped the homeless, dispossessed and those living on the margins of society in Manchester. Taking their converted ambulance out every Wednesday and Saturday, Irene reaches out with food, love and compassion. She befriends those who have no one else, never judging and always ready to listen and help. She also supports many old people in her local area from shopping to just spending time and listening. All this work is unpaid and she lives a modest life, preferring to fill her house with bags of clothes and food for distribution.

Social Entrepreneur category
Terrie Johnson
Sponsored by Business Link North West

Terrie Johnson from Wirral is the founder of fruit to suit. Finding herself struggling to find a home/life balance that fitted around her young family, Terrie combined her two passions, working with young children and healthy living, to create a social enterprise that establishes healthy tuck shops at local schools. From early on Terrie become aware that the children not only enjoyed the responsibility of running the tuck shops but were gaining new skills and flourishing in a practical situation, which led to Terrie developing a Business and Enterprise programme for the children. Through her fruit characters she also tackles a number of other issues including environmental (Mr Pip) and bullying (Andy Apricot).

Inspiring Young Woman Award
Fajer Rabia
Sponsored by Carole Nash

Award winner Fajer, arrived in Manchester aged 18 and started work at the Learn Direct centre in Rusholme. She realised that there was a real need for women-only courses and despite her colleagues reluctance, she commandeered a small room with five PCs. Within a year she set up Inspired Sisters and her business become the largest Learn Direct Centre in Manchester.

Fajer, from Hulme, has expanded her business beyond women-only courses with clients now coming from all backgrounds. Her success is down to imaginatively responding to the needs of her clients rather than filling courses. She is now producing five plays on the themes of forced marriages, drugs and alcohol abuse, extremism and violence, domestic violence and teenage pregnancies. These plays will tour schools.

Business category
Jane Davies
Sponsored by Deloitte

Jane was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Manchester Science Park (MSP) in 2000 and remains the only female CEO of a science park. During this time Jane, from Manchester, has gained national and international recognition for the work MSP does and has helped Manchester and the North West become a recognised centre for the start-up and development of new businesses in the technology sector, which now houses over 100 high tech organisations.

Jane is Chairman of the UK Science Park Association and was President of the European Division of the International Association of Science Parks. She sits on numerous local charities and was a trustee of Gorton Monastery during its successful application for funding.

Inspiring finalists:

Public Sector
As Communications Media and Marketing Director for Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, Katy McCormick, from Fulwood, Preston, was responsible for transforming the publics perceptions of the former mill towns of East Lancashire.
Andrea Thorley-Baines, from Blackpool, is the Domestic Abuse Partnership Manager for the resort, an area which has twice the national average incidents of domestic violence. Angela has been instrumental in creating innovative approaches to this issue.

Social Entrepreneur
An agoraphobic, Nicky Lidbetter, from Chorlton, decided instead of giving in to this debilitating disorder, she would help others and is now Chief Officer of Self Help Services.
Angela Wellon, from Chadderton, Oldham, set up First 4 Disabilities to provide support services for families and individuals with additional needs and disabilities.

Business
At 76, Sylvia Hopwood, from Ribchester, is an inspiration to anyone who thinks they are too old to start again! She set up her company, Recycle Works aged 62.
Justine Wright, from Denton, owner of Cuckoo Design has launched Invest in ideas which ensures that new ideas in the region receive the creative support they deserve free of charge.

Community
Ciss Breen from Salford is one of those women who meets any request for help with a yes even if it means abseiling down a 185 feet tower for charity at the age of 69. Under her guidance as CEO, Salli Ward from Macclesfield has transformed a small overrun organisation into a regional centre of excellence in the Family Justice System.

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