These reader-nominated women are making their local area a better place
The latest batch of nominations in our 50 Over 50 Amazing Women Awards in partnership with JD Williams have been announced.
Below you’ll find the shortlist for the Community Heroes category. Excitingly, all five women were all nominated by Woman & Home readers – and we want YOU to pick the winner.
The only problem we predict is trying to decide which of these incredible women deserves to win the award…
From the 80 year old championing lifelong learning to the former nurse getting the elderly moving to the bereaved mother who has turned her grief into something good, we’re sure you’ll be impressed by all of the candidates.
But only one can win, so read all about the five nominees below and then cast your vote in the poll above! Voting closes on Sunday 22 July and the winner will be revealed in our November issue.
The nurse who gives the elderly their lives back
Pat is Director of Health at iCareiMove in Falmouth.
A registered nurse and fitness instructor, she teaches exercise and movement in her local village hall, and throughout the county at Memory Cafés for people with dementia.
Pat’s classes are always full, have an average age of 78 and include men and women.
Her colleague, Alison Hunt says: “She keeps these people independent and in their own homes, listens to their worries and teaches mindfulness.”
Pat also trains carers at care homes in how to move and exercise their residents, and improve the care that they offer, plus teaches resilience.
Pat says: “I used to be a ward sister on a trauma unit, but didn’t get enough patient contact. Now I make a real difference.
"It’s about dignity and quality of life – one lady, because of her movement exercises, can now put her pants on without having to ask her husband.
"Our clients do the exercises at home because they understand why they’re doing them – we see a massive improvement.
"I believe that right till the end of life you should be able to move – even if someone is helping you.”
The dynamo saving her seaside town
In 2009, Fiona was running her own business in Broadstairs when she started to notice the demise of her local high street.
She set up the Save Broadstairs High Street campaign, and worked to get people shopping locally so small retailers could stay in business.
Nicolette Jones, who nominated her, says: “Fiona even took the town into the Guinness Book of World Records by organising a crowd dancing to ABBA’s Dancing Queen on the beach. This involved sending teams to local schools to teach the moves in the run-up to the record attempt.”
Fiona says: “I’ve tried to create events that would be attractive to the town, like screening films on the beach. We have a beautiful place, but there’s a lot of deprivation too.
"I joined the Chamber of Commerce and got involved in local politics, so I could make a difference. I won’t become invisible. I have a voice so I got brave about what I was able to do.”
The lifelong learning champion
Pam travels around the country, supporting members of the University of the Third Age (U3A) and celebrating the successes of retired people who love learning.
She’s been National Chair of the U3A for three years and a member for 20.
She was nominated by her friend Helen Thompson, who says, “Pam has eight grandchildren who are her life, but a definite second is the voluntary work she does.”
Pam says: “Lifelong learning keeps our minds and bodies active, helps prevent loneliness and creates great community spirit. We have over 30,000 interest groups. I last studied Latin 60 years ago – so I set up a group around my kitchen table. We had great fun and always had cake too.”
The mother who’s funded 21 NHS helipads
Lesley was tragically bereaved 10 years ago when her son, Tom, 11, (right) was killed in a traffic accident. He was flown to hospital by air ambulance but, with no helipad nearby, they had to land on the street.
Corienne Kilgannon, from the County Air Ambulance Trust, says: “The immediate aftermath of Tom’s death was obviously hugely traumatic, but Lesley started fundraising for the HELP Appeal.”
Lesley, now Fundraising Executive for the charity, has raised more than £685,000 and funded 21 NHS helipads.
Lesley says: “To survive my grief I had to turn it into something positive.”
The choir leader bringing glee to the masses
Terri is owner of Glee Club UK, a group of adult community choirs with around 400 members across 14 clubs.
Since 2010, this growing network of choirs has raised over £30,000 for charity.
Karen Owen and Clair Riley, her nominators, say: “Terri sets up new clubs, organises events, supports Glee Captains and choir members... all with a smile on her face.”
Terri says: “Singing together brings so much joy and is great for mental wellbeing. Being in our Glee family has helped some members get through cancer treatment and reduce depression medication.”