There were over 700 people who attended the Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards at the New Dock, Royal Armouries in Leeds on Friday afternoon.
Sixty-six of those were women who had been nominated for awards.
I was proud, privileged, honoured and thrilled to be one of them!
To see my name in the YWOA programme (see picture below), as a nominee in the Young Achiever category, and to be invited to sit on a table that also included two great inspirational people – Angie Aspinall (nominated in the business category), and my mum! – made me feel very proud.
I think my mum was proud of me too!
I even went in for the #YWOA #selfie challenge with Angie!
Overall, I ended up being humbled too – by the stories that were told about inspiration, courage and never-say-die attitude of those fantastic ladies who won their #YWOA categories.
None more so than the overall winner Saliha Rashid, who was also named Young Achiever winner (my category).
Saliha has been registered blind since birth and is a survivor of honour-based abuse. She gives a voice to other victims and survivors by campaigning for the rights of Asian women.
Like me a proud Yorkshire lass, she is on Karma Nirvana’s survivor ambassador panel, a charity which provides emotional and practical support to victims and survivors of forced marriage and honour-based abuse.
Saliha graduated with first class honours in Psychology from Leeds Trinity University in July 2014 and is currently studying the Graduate Diploma in Law. She is also working with Baroness Cox on gender discrimination and volunteers with Leeds Women Aid.
Saliha was not the only ‘heroine’ in the room in my eyes. There were so many.
Trainee solicitor Charlotte Newman, the winner of the Courage award and the lovely face of the Teenage Cancer Trust, also had an inspirational, tear-jerker of a story to tell, yet one that lifted us too, and encouraged us to do our very best no matter the obstacles put in our way.
And yet I am sure that I speak for all of us when I say that all of us who were nominated felt like winners – especially when you discover and read comments like the one on Twitter from Sue Ryder Wheatfields, which read:
“These nominated women are not just role models to the British community, they are the role models to whole nation
- Lucy Bailey won the education award; Liz Barker was named winner of the community impact award, with Corrina Young highly commended; Sarah Speers won the sport award; Judy Bell was named the business category winner; and the Yorkshire Rose award went to Sally Wainwright.