2012 Inspiring Women Awards at Manchester's Midland Hotel

PUBLISHED: 14:27 26 June 2012 | UPDATED: 21:33 20 February 2013

Creative and Media Award finalist, Cat Lewis being interviewed

Creative and Media Award finalist, Cat Lewis being interviewed

The courage, achievements and entrepreneurial talents of local women were celebrated in fine style at the annual Inspiring Women Awards luncheon PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIRSTY THOMPSON

Creative and Media winner, sponsored by BBC Radio Manchester
Maria McGeoghan

Maria, from Worsley, was the first woman editor in the history of the Manchester Evening News and was at the heart of changes as the newspaper embraced the digital world. She oversaw the introduction of the MENs free newspaper and the move to part-paid part-free distribution, considered pioneering at its inception.

Maria gave departmental heads the freedom to express creativity and lead their departments.

Although a career woman, Maria is most proud of her role as a mother to 10-year-old Annie and at the age of 50, decided to devote more time to motherhood, encapsulating the dilemma of so many high-flying women.

Business winner, sponsored by Deloitte
Tracy Mort

Tracy formed Grace Cole Limited in February 2007 in the kitchen of her home in Ramsbottom, as a result of the business where she was an employee folding.

With a good reputation in the cosmetic industry, Tracy knew that all she needed was financial backing and approached a previous employer, and when he agreed Grace Cole was formed.

Initially Tracy was going to take the role of Buying/Creative Director, while her business partner was to be Managing Director. After only three weeks her business partner was diagnosed with a serious illness leaving Tracy to take on the role of Managing Director as well.

Starting the company with just two employees, Tracy now employs 21 staff with a turnover to 7.5 million and healthy profits.

Community winner, sponsored by Abode Hotels
Kate Spall

When Kate Spalls mother, Pamela was dying with kidney cancer in 2006 and was refused a new drug, Kate spent hours researching and planning how she could get the NHS to change their mind.

After a nine-month battle, Pamela became the first person in Wales to receive this new cancer drug. After her mothers death Kate, from Chester, continued to fight for other patients, giving up her job and taking on the government to win this treatment for everyone in Wales and

Around 280 cancer patients have had their lives extended thanks to Kate fighting their case. As her 14-year-old son Eden said: She has taught me to always fight for those who cannot fight for themselves and to never believe your voice doesnt count.

Entrepreneur winner, sponsored by Manchester Metropolitan University
Michelle Clippy McKenna

Clippys motivation is simple preserving the British apple.

Although shes now producing 10,000 jars each month, not one foreign imposter apple will be
squeezed, juiced or chopped. Clippy, from Sale, Cheshire, also preaches what she practices and plays an active role in British Apple Day, the London Orchard Project and Cheshire Wildlife Trust.

Clippy, along with her partner Paul, has built what is now the national brand of Clippys Apples, seen in major supermarkets. She still found time to take on the EU, refuting their aim to decatergorise Clippys Jam for its lower sugar content.

Inspiring Young Woman winner, sponsored by Cheshire Life and Lancashire Life
Charlotte Carbery-Evans

Charlotte is a care leaver from Salford who has shown remarkable commitment to helping other young people in her area, despite a difficult start to her own life.

Charlotte has recently graduated from Liverpool University and decided against a regular job offer to follow her goal of working in sports development. This meant balancing volunteering with parttime jobs, but Charlotte has no regrets.

Her main role is as a volunteer at her old school, All Hallows, where she assists staff in delivering sports sessions to young people, without which many of the extracurricular sports class wouldnt be available.

Charlotte also runs a weekly Street dance group, Next Step which is a group of all female care leavers, where she is seen as a positive role model and
someone the girls can talk and relate.

Ayoung woman from Sale who had a dream about making a business from English apples took centre stage at the Inspiring Women Awards as she was declared winner of the competitions Entrepreneur category.

Michelle Clippy McKenna brushed tears from her eyes as she explained her joy at her efforts being recognised and seeing her jam Clippys on the shelves of supermarkets.

Dont anyone tell you, you cant do something, she said from the platform. If you have an ambition and a passion, just get on and do it, she told the 150 guests gathered in front of her at the Midland Hotel, Manchester.

Cheshire Life and Lancashire Life magazines were delighted, once again,
to be part of the 20th annual Inspiring Women Awards, sponsored by Olivia Henry Associates.

Cheshire Life editor Louise Taylor took to the stage to present the Inspiring Young Woman Award, on behalf of both magazines, to Charlotte Carbery-Evans, from Salford, who dedicates all her spare time to teaching dance and sports to disadvantaged youngsters.

Guests at the luncheon were treated to the stories of 13 extraordinary women across five categories, with the Award winners being announced to an audience moved to both tears and laughter. Founder and organiser of the awards, businesswoman Jacqueline Hughes-Lundy told the audience;

After 20 years, the calibre of all finalists remains extremely high, making the job of judging a difficult one, but one that the independent judges seem to rise to every year.

The 2012 Awards were presented by BAFTA award-winning film producer
Leslee Udwin, who had been flown in from her home in Denmark by sponsors easyjet. Leslee brought the house down with her witty observations on the differences between the sexes before recounting the sequence of events that led her from actress to fearless documentary
maker, before going on to win the BAFTA for East is East, a film which is now part of the school curriculum.

The event was held together by MC Michael Taylor, former editor of NorthWest Insider, now pursuing a broadcasting career. Normally charged
with handling male-dominated events,

Michael was moved to comment on the spirit of the event, creating an
atmosphere of support for the finalists and speakers.

Cheshire Life and Lancashire Life are proud to continue to be media
supporters of this prestigious event, which was broadcast by BBC Radio
Manchester. Ben Gledhill and Adam Neal from Superleague rugby league club Salford City Reds were on hand to help with the raffle which raised funds for the Inspiring Young Women Foundation.


Creative and Media: Cat Lewis from Manchester. NicolaShindler, based in Manchester

Business: Sian Astley, based in Manchester, Geraldine Ryan, based inManchester.

Community: Clare Hayward fromMacclesfield. Jean Jones from Bolton

Entrepreneur: Melanie Bryan OBE, Sarah Goulbourne, based in Manchester

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