Talented women from across the region were honoured today at the Yorkshire Women of Achievement awards.
The ceremony, organised by Sue Ryder – Wheatfields Hospice, took place at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.
The 32nd event celebrated women who work in the fields of business, education, sport, arts and health, as well as paying tribute to those who have shown immense courage.
And the overall Woman of Achievement award went to Claire Throssell – also the Courage award winner – a mother who lost her two young sons at the hands of their abusive father but campaigned for others.
Kate Bratt-Farrar, hospice director at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, said: “The awards ceremony is a unique opportunity to say thank you to all those incredible women who like our founder, Lady Ryder, have touched people’s lives and left an everlasting legacy.”
In October 2014, Ms Throssell’s boys Jack and Paul, aged 12 and nine, were burnt to death in the attic of their home in Penistone, South Yorkshire.
They had been barricaded in by their abusive father and firemen were unable to gain entry.
Claire has campaigned to stop unsafe child contact with dangerous perpetrators of domestic abuse and, thanks to her work, it is now mandatory for courts to determine whether children will be at risk of harm from a contact order.
She said: “Every child matters. It’s too late for my boys, but not too late for others.”
This year the Yorkshire Rose award went to Corinne Bailey Rae for her outstanding contribution to the music industry.
The Put Your Records On singer, from Leeds, is now a world-renowned musician.
Sue Ryder Outstanding Achievement Award: Sarah Booth, Sue Ryder community nurse at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, and Rachel Sharples, team lead of the therapy team at Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice - Sarah has been working as a community nurse specialist at Wheatfields for 18 years. Since then, she has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds as a member of the Pudsey Pacers to support the hospice. Rachael is known for her sense of humour, meticulous note keeping, specialist physiotherapy skills and commitment to fair patient care. She has helped create services such as the physical and functional gym at Airedale Hospital.
Business: Victoria Robertshaw - Victoria co-runs Keelham Farm Shop with her brother James. Since they took over in 2006, following their father’s unexpected death, sales have grown from £2m to £21m in 2016/17. Across two stores in Thornton and Skipton, Keelham Farm Shop now serves more than one million customers a year and the team has grown from 56 in 2010 to 320 today.
Education: Elaine Cooper - Elaine is the founder of Leeds-based Future Horizons, a non-profit scheme for young adults with complex needs and learning difficulties. Having a son of her own with such needs prompted her to start somewhere where youngsters could continue to reach their full potential after they had left full-time education.
Arts: Salma Zaman - The founder and artistic director of Salma’s Bollywood Dance Academy, the such first British-Asian academy in the North. She has been teaching dance for more than 35 years. Salma, of Huddersfield, organised the first South Asian History Month. She has written children’s books and has appeared on Coronation Street.
Sports: Sheila Edmunds - Sheila was one of the founding members of the Doncaster Belles football club in 1969, alongside her mother Doreen Stocks. After ending her 25-year playing career, Sheila became the physiotherapist for the Belles for 13 years and is currently general manager. She takes part in everything from FA bids and player contracts to collecting sweaty kits after a match.
Science and Technology: Margaret Wood - In 2011, Margaret was awarded the MBE for services for Business in Yorkshire and the Humber. She founded ICW in 1992, a business which provides innovative glazing solutions. Margaret led the growth of her company to become a leading player in the field with constant research and development to meet market needs. She mentors other women.
Young Achiever: Katie Matthews - Katie works for NHS England’s learning disability and autism engagement team. Her passion for her work stems from her being a woman with Down’s syndrome – in itself a barrier to having gained employment – and from her desire to make the world a more inclusive place for all people with a learning disability.
Services to the Community: Ailith Hartley-Roberts - The service delivery manager at the Leeds-based Sunshine and Smiles, which aims to improve the lives of children and young people with Down syndrome in the city.