Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Women of Achievement shortlist announced

TWELVE women from the Henley area have been shortlisted in this year's Sue Ryder Women of Achievement Awards.

TWELVE women from the Henley area have been shortlisted in this year's Sue Ryder Women of Achievement Awards.

They include entrepreneurs, charity workers and supporters and a musician.

The winners in six categories will be announced at an awards ceremony and black-tie gala dinner to be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Marlow on March 19.

In the creative woman of the year category, the nominees include:

Sue Koomen, founder of the Pig Barn in Checkendon, a creative space for artists and crafts people to run courses. She single-handedly converted a derelict pig barn and used recycled furnishings. Her ambition is to run courses for young people to learn skills in master building to equip them for life.

Former professional singer Sam Brown runs the International Ukulele Club of Sonning Common. In 2010, after more than 30 years performing, she lost her voice so she started giving ukulele lessons to a couple of friends in her front room and this quickly grew into a number of performing groups, including the People's Ukulele Brigade, the Jumping Flea Club and the North London Ukulele Collective.

In the lifetime achiever category, the nominees include:

Marian Lee, who helped save the Chiltern Centre for disabled children in Henley. She helped start an appeal group after the Greys Road centre was closed in 2003. She was then interim manager and spearheaded protests which led to the centre being re-opened the following year. She continued as manager until last year, when she took a step back and became director of services. Mrs Lee, of St Helen's Crescent, Benson, retired after more than 20 years' service earlier this month.

Pam Warren, who survived the Paddington train crash in October 1999. Mrs Warren, from Whitchurch, sustained horrific injuries in the disaster in which 31 people were killed and more than 500 injured. She underwent scores of operations and had to wear a plastic mask over her face for 18 months. She became the public face of the disaster and was known as "the lady in the mask". She formed the Paddington Survivors' Group, which campaigned for improvements in rail safety. She now carries out charity work as an ambassador for the Healing Foundation and the Children's Burns Research Centre.

Lady McAlpine, from Fawley Hill, who gives her time to help local charities promote their profiles to the wider community. For two years she and her husband Sir William have hosted a steam and vintage weekend, which has largely been for the benefit of local charities, giving them a free pitch so that they can raise money. In May last year, she organised the Rock on the Hill charity dinner in aid of Teenage Wilderness Trust, the Ways & Means Trust, Row2Recovery, Child Bereavement UK and the Chiltern Centre for disabled children. She also helps organise the Henley Summer Fireworks, which also raises money for charities including Riding for the Disabled.

In the businesswoman of the year category, the nominees include:

Sue Beales and Karen D'Arcy, who run Life in Nettlebed. The company started as a small home furnishings business in the village and has blossomed into a thriving interior design firm. The two women have brought considerable business to the area, employing local curtain-makers, upholsterers, decorators and furniture makers. Life at Nettlebed now shares the old church hall with the Field Kitchen and post office, creating a vibrant business centre and hub for the village. The women organised a ball that raised more than £25,000 for the Sue Ryder hospice in Nettlebed and last year they donated their time, expertise and accessories to revamp the entrance hall at Joyce Grove.

In the community award the nominees include:

Sue Abbot, from Sonning Common, who started the Nettlebed Luncheon Club in 2012. The club is held on the first Tuesday of each month, offering a hot meal plus tea and coffee.

Sarah Roberts, of King's Road, Henley, launched the Millie's Dream appeal in September 2013 to install defibrillators in schools and the wider community. The appeal is named after her seven-year-old daughter, who has a heart and lung condition. Earlier this month, the 15th community defibrillator and the 31st overall was installed at Rupert House School in Henley, where Millie is a pupil.

Maggie Atkinson helps organise the annual Music on the Meadows festival in Henley, where young musicians and bands peform on the bandstand in Mill Meadows. Following the closure of the Henley Youth Centre, she is also helping to create a chill out space above Magoos in Hart Street, where young people can gather, play music and have a safe space to be.

In the volunteer award category, the nominees include:

Joyce Burrows, a volunteer at the Sue Ryder hospice in Nettlebed. Mrs Burrows,, from Henley, joined as a volunteer in 1993 and became the volunteers co-ordinator.

She is responsible for the 350 volunteers who sort through donations from the public. Tina Jacobs, from Remenham, helps organise the Henley Youth Festival. Hundreds of children and young people take part in the annual festival, which is now is its 22nd year and is run entirely by volunteers. It helps achieve and celebrate their talents with activities over two weeks including music and arts performances, workshops, sports sessions and the Stonor Run.

In the sportwomen of the year category, the nominees include:

Henley Rugby Club's women's team, which won promotion to Championship Division 1 South after winning all their matches during the 2013/14 season.

Henley Rowing Club's women's junior four. Ciara Buckley, Kryssie Steiger, Emily Pimlott and Alexis Perkins were unbeaten in the 2013/14 season and won every major UK event available to them, including the British junior championships.


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