INSPIRATIONAL achievers from Solihull were among those celebrated at the fifth Ladies First Professional Development Network Business Awards.
More than 300 people assembled at Coombe Abbey for the glittering awards ceremony, hosted by Coventry musician and BBC radio presenter Sandra Godley.
Winners included Gaynor Matthews, myNexus, from Knowle in the Excellence In Stem category; Karen Jones, of The Giles Trust Brain Tumour Fund, from Balsall Common in the Inspirational Women category; Chloe Hawryluk from Solihull won the Inspirational Young Achiever and Hazel Carter, author/fundraiser for Motor Neurone disease from Solihull won the Inspirational Author award.
Jemma Paterson and Helen Bolus, Nurture Parenting Collective/Happy Mamas Solihull also won the Achieves for the Community category.
Jemma said: “We are delighted to have won. Community is at the heart of what we do.
“Community for us means helping one another, to feel part of something and to have a sense of belonging. We are so grateful to be part of this diverse and inspiring group of women.
“Our community support group, Happy Mamas, began just before the pandemic and has over the years helped over 650+ new mothers in Solihull alone. Our simple aim is that no new mum should feel alone and unsupported.”
This year also saw the introduction of four new categories celebrating creatives – including Outstanding Woman In Sport, Outstanding Woman In Creative Arts, Woman In Music and The Sandra Godley Music Award.
The winners were selected from hundreds of nominations from across the UK and abroad.
Special guests included The Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Kevin Maton; Nurse May Parsons – the nurse who administered the first ever Covid injection in Coventry – and former member of The Drifters, Roy Hemmings.
Director of Ladies First, Tracey McAtamney, said after the event: “What a night of celebration and entertainment honouring inspirational women from across the country. We also welcomed Toyin Adekale, former Boney M Band Member who flew in from the USA to collect her award for Woman in Music International. In all, 30 awards were presented to some amazing ladies, men and rising stars.
“Congratulations to all the finalists and winners who all truly deserve recognition for their incredible achievements. It was wonderful to see so many women supporting and celebrating each other’s successes.”
The awards also raised £2,300 for two West Midlands charities, Coventry Foodbank and Surviving Bereavement, through an auction and raffle.
Surviving Bereavement’s new Memory Box Foundation, being launched soon, provides free Memory Boxes for children and young adults coping with bereavement and supports pop-up Bereavement Cafes in Coventry, Kenilworth, Warwick, Balsall Common, Leamington Spa, Solihull and Stratford-upon-Avon.