NOMINATIONS have opened for the 2016 Sue Ryder Women of Achievement Awards.
The awards, now in their 10th year, honour inspirational women from Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.
This year, they will be presented in seven categories, including two new ones, women of achievement in services and the Sue Ryder woman of courage award.
The first is open to public servants such as nurses, police officers, firefighters, teachers, councillors or military personnel who show exceptional commitment.
The second is for women who have shown bravery and determination in the face of adversity or personal difficulties.
The other five categories are for women of achievement in business, sports, the community and the arts as well as young achievers aged 25 or under. Judges are accepting nominations until February 5 and will then shortlist three women in each category.
The winners will be announced at a lunchtime ceremony at Trunkwell Mansion House in Beech Hill, near Reading, on March 11. One of them will also receive the overall Woman of Achievement 2016 title.
The awards were launched at the Henley offices of investment firm Invesco Perpetual, the main sponsor, on Thursday evening last week.
Tracey Hancock, head of fund-raising at Sue Ryder?s Nettlebed hospice, said: ?It?s really exciting that the awards are now in their 10th year. It?s a clear sign that there?s a real appetite for recognising women who make exceptional contributions to their communities.
?Their efforts are sometimes quite understated but they make a real difference and it?s good to raise awareness of what they do.
?These women aren?t in it for the recognition but it gives them some welcome encouragement and inspires others.
?We?ve allowed plenty of time to send in nominations so we?d urge everyone to spread the word among their friends and colleagues.?
The four ambassadors for this year?s awards include two of last year?s awards winners.
Pam Warren, from Whitchurch, won the lifetime achievement award for her campaigning for rail safety after she survived the Paddington rail crash in 1999.
Sarah Roberts, of King?s Road, Henley, won the community champion award for young people after launching the Millie?s Dream appeal in September 2013 to provide defibrillators in schools.
The appeal is named after her daughter, who has a heart and lung condition and has so far provided 38 devices for schools and communities across the Henley area.
To submit a nomination, visit www.sueryder.org/swoa
or call (01491) 641384.
The awards are also sponsored by Higgs Group, publishers of the Henley Standard.