NINETEEN women from the Henley area have been nominatd in this year’s Sue Ryder Women of Achievement Awards.
They include businesswomen, charity workers and a footballer.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Reading on March 11.
There are six categories:
BUSINESSWOMAN OF THE YEAR
Gillian Nahum has run Henley Sales and Charter for more than 20 years and also owns Boatique in Friday Street. She is a director of the Henley Business Partnership.
She was nominated by Alex Bucknall, from Shiplake, who said: “Gillian is a fantastic inspiration to all her employees. She loves giving young people responsibility and watching them flourish.
“Nothing is ever too much trouble and she is always there to lend a helping hand to whoever may need it.”
SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR
Fran Kirby played striker for England in last year’s women’s world cup.
The 22-year-old, of Stirling Close, Caversham, used to play for Reading FC but moved to Chelsea in July.
She made her international debut against Sweden in 2014, scoring in a 4–0 win. She also scored in England’s 2–1 win over Mexico in the world cup in Canada, where England reached the semi-final.
She was nominated by Sheila Sturgess, who said: “I used to work in the school Fran went to as a child in Caversham and have watched proudly as she has grown into a fine sportswoman.”
WOMEN IN SERVICES CATEGORY
Christine Brook, of Coopers Pightle, Kidmore End, was nominated by Chrissie Phillips-Tilbury, a parish councillor in neighbouring Sonning Common.
Mrs Phillips-Tilbury said: “Christine is a community first responder volunteer trained by South Central Ambulance Service in basic lifesaving skills.
“Working within a six-mile radius of her home, following an emergency call she can provide on-the-spot care to life-threatening emergencies such as cardiac arrest, diabetic coma and breathing difficulties.
“She is required to work three hours a week but in fact puts herself on call for 20 hours per week.
“I have been a witness to her calm manner, caring and professional attitude and concern for her patients. She has quite definitely saved lives in our community.”
Fl Sgt Emma Rousel, based at RAF Benson, was nominated for her dedication to duty, inspiring her colleagues and for her fund-raising activities.
She was put forward by Sgt Lee Thomas, who said: “She is the most inspiring person I have ever met.”
Fl Sgt Rousell looks after the catering operation at the base and manages the junior ranks’ mess, which feeds 450 personnel four meals a day. She also coaches and manages the RAF Benson team that takes part in culinary competitions against other military bases.
Outside work, she raises money for charity and has volunteered at the watercress beds nature reserve in Ewelme. She performed in the Benson remembrance Sunday parade and sold poppies for the Royal British Legion.
To support a close friend having chemotherapy for cancer, she shaved her head and donated the clippings to a Prince’s Trust team that makes wigs for cancer sufferers and raised £4,000.
Jane Proctor, of Gallowstree Common, was a nurse at Sonning Common Health Centre until she retired in September. She was nominated by GP Ralph Drury, who said: “She was adored by patients and has always been exceptional, expert and caring.
“I have never known anyone complain about her — only the complete opposite. Ask any of our patients or anyone who knows Jane, she is caring, hardworking and always put patients and the community first.”
WOMEN OF COURAGE CATEGORY
Louise Hooper, from Henley, had to cope with losing her partner, Steff Heinricci, and mother Carol to cancer within six months of each other.
She is a keen fund-raiser for cancer charities, all the while looking after her three children.
She was nominated by Paula Isaac, of Gainsborough Road, and Gordon and Lesley Mather, of South Avenue, Henley.
Mrs Isaac said: “Steff was diagnosed with lung cancer, which took his life within six months of diagnosis.
“Every step of the way Louise looked after him and refused to give up in the hope that he might still fight the cancer and live.”
Mrs Mather said: “She is a strong, amazing woman who has been through so much. Her strength in supporting her loved ones towards the end and abiding by their wishes even when it seemed impossible is simply amazing.
“She continues to support and love her children and family in what only can be described as a tough, sad year that no one wants to go through ever again — amazing lady, amazing mother.”
Teresa Edwards, of King’s Road, Henley, had a rare form of cancer, which spread to four other areas of her body before diagnosis.
She underwent extensive surgery and spent weeks in hospital as an inpatient, followed by months of chemotherapy.
She was nominated by her best friend, Sarah Roberts, who also lives in King’s Road, who said: “Her attitude and courage in the face of adversity was heartwarming and inspiring.
“She never complained. She never felt sorry for herself and faced each component of the illness with dignity and self-respect. She is loved by many and has been a personal inspiration to me and my daughter Millie.
“Within six months of her diagnosis and surgery she walked the Henley Standard 10km surrounded by friends and family — an example of her selflessness. Teresa has been wonderfully brave and helped others by talking to them about what she has been through.
“One work colleague said that she feels so much more aware of cancer and its effects than she did before because of Teresa.”
ACHIEVEMENT IN THE COMMUNITY CATEGORY
Carolyn Molyneux, of Delegate Office and Conference Services, was nominated by Toni Aitken, of Damer Gardens, Henley.
Ms Molyneux, of Manor Road, Henley, has traded in Hart Street for 30 years and has volunteered for the annual Henley Regatta for the Disabled and Henley Living Advent Calendar events.
Mrs Aitken said: “During her time in Henley, her association with local charities has grown year by year and has become an integral part of her life and interests.
“She has worked with Sue Ryder Nettlebed hospice, including raising £2,500 as part of the Big Wigs campaign, the Big Slim, a cupcakes and coffee morning at Delegate, a summer fair at her home and a quiz night at Henley Rugby Club.
“Over the past 10 years Carolyn has battled five major cancer surgeries and, having come out the other side of these, she finds that her drive to help others through her charity work has increased and has resulted in her seeing life through a different perspective.”
Clare Pelling and Jane McIlroy, of Mill Road, Lower Shiplake, were nominated for their fund-raising bakery, The Compassionate Loaf, by Karen Peters, of Kiln Lane, Binfield Heath, and Amanda Andrews, of Harpsden Woods.
Ms Peters said: “Clare and Jane have raised over £4,000 for various charities by baking and selling bread. They hold pop-up shops, run bread baking classes and sell to locals. They give every penny they raise to a different charity.”
Dr Ellen Krudenier, of Sonning Common Health Centre, was nominated by Karen Guy, of Shiplake Bottom, who said: “Dr Ellen has been running an innovative and ground-breaking project, inviting patients and members of the public to participate in open workshops on advanced care planning.
“This has been for anyone to join in order to discuss these important topics while they are well and can think carefully about their choices for the future in a considered way.”
Frances Hill, of Winterberry Way, Caversham, is chief executive of the Ways and Means Trust, which provides rehabilitation and training for people recuperating from mental illness at Manor Farm in Peppard.
She was nominated by Denise Jones, of Framlingham Drive, Caversham, and June Bone, from Crowsley.
Mrs Jones said: “If it wasn’t for her the charity would not still be around.She works tirelessly in the community to promote the work they do.”
Mrs Bone said: “She has fought hard to keep it all together and to find a new home for the trust. Not only does she run this charity, working late hours, but she is also involved with many other things, such as the running of the tea kiosk at Caversham Court with four other charities.”
Jane Holmes, from Ruscombe, is co-founder of the Henley Regatta for the Disabled. She was nominated by her husband Jasper.
In 2001 the couple had their first child, Kitty, who has severe cerebral palsy. Mrs Holmes set up her first charity, Peapods, when Kitty was a year old, which served to support children with physical disabilities.
In 2014, she opened Our House, a purpose-designed centre for families with disabled children, following seven years of fund-raising. Our House now has more than 400 families on its books.
Mr Holmes said: “Jane has worked tirelessly on an entirely voluntary basis to ensure the success of Our House, building strong relationships with the community. As a hobby, she also set up the Regatta for the Disabled, an annual event enabling disabled people in and around Henley to access the Thames.
“Jane has helped hundreds of people in our community at the same time as being the most fantastic mum to our daughter. Nobody deserves an award more.”
Sanna Hedman, of Albert Road, Henley, and Clare Sherriff, of Ferry Lane, Medmenham, were nominated by Karen Guy. The pair helped develop the family room at the charity’s Nettlebed hospice for patients’ relatives and friends, even assembling the furniture themselves.
Mrs Guy said: “Both have such energy and drive and have been hugely generous with their time and transformed areas where there has been no budget into beautiful, peaceful spaces.”
Debbie Jackson, of RAF Benson, was nominated by her husband Scott for raising more than £1,600 for the Royal British Legion by crocheting poppies and selling them locally.
Mr Jackson said: “This was all done in her spare time as she works full-time for NHS England. She made in the region of 700 poppies from mid-September right up to Remembrance Sunday.”
Jo Williams, also of RAF Benson, was nominated by the base for being the “backbone” of the Benson Military Wives Choir since becoming musical director in 2012.
Susan Johnson, of Churchfield Lane, Benson, is manager of the Scamps of Benson children’s nursery.
She was nominated by Eddie Purchase, of Puma Close, Benson, who said: “Sue consistently strives to provide a personal service to young people and families in the area.
“Nothing is too much trouble and she will always go out of her way to ensure that she gives her full support.”
Libby Meachin, from Henley, was nominated by Arzu Kara, of Rotherfield Road, Henley, for the events she organises for disabled people.
Ms Kara said: “Libby is the kindest woman I know. Once a week she hosts a dinner/barbecue/games for the disabled people of Henley.
“She plays at the church, helps charity with her time and I witnessed her nursing terminally ill neighbours.”