Women of the Year Awards pay tribute to emergency and medical services

Women of the Year President Sandi Toksvig with the 2017 Woman of Achievement. Photo courtesy of: Women of the Year Awards.

The 2017 Women of the Year Awards have paid tribute to emergency response teams, both in the UK and abroad. Women of the Year President Sandi Toksvig hosted an awards ceremony and lunch for a group of 400 specially invited women, all honoured as a ‘2017 Woman of Achievement;’ who were selected for their resilience, resourcefulness, and selfless actions.

The Barclays Women of the Year Award was presented to Naomi Davis, Assistant Chief Constable Debbie Ford, PC Lauren Moore, Cath Daley, Vicky Wijeratne, Laura Prescott, Lea Vaughan and Shoba Manesh on behalf of the Manchester emergency and medical services. When the bomb exploded in the Manchester Arena on 22 May the women of the emergency and medical services immediately galvanised into action. Everybody, from ordinary citizens to members of the emergency services and health care professionals behaved in ways that were way beyond the call of duty. These women were chosen by their own organisations to accept the award on behalf of each and every woman serving in the police, ambulance and health services up and down the UK. The award was presented by The Duchess of Cornwall.

The Prudential Women of the Year Leadership Award was awarded to Commissioner Dany Cotton of London Fire Brigade, in recognition of her incredible bravery and skill within hugely challenging circumstances, especially in recent times. Her positivity and openness when she talked about her own mental health challenges were very aspirational and has resulted in many more men and women feeling able to talk about their own issues. The award was presented by Julie Etchingham, presenter and reporter for ITV News.

The world-renowned volunteer search and rescue group, The White Helmets, won the Good Housekeeping Women of the Year International Award, recognised for their unrelenting determination to helping those injured in wars and conflict situations. The heroic women, who are trained in medical care as well as search and rescue work, have so far helped thousands of survivors of the Syrian Civil War. The award was collected on behalf of the White Helmets by Anna Nolan, Director of The Syria Campaign.

Alex Eades was named as ITV’s Lorraine Inspirational Woman of the Year Award winner. Alex was acknowledged for her fundraising work following the death of 19-year-old daughter Charlotte, in 2016. Charlotte was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer in 2015 and documented her journey on YouTube until she lost her battle. Despite her tragic loss, Alex has raised enough money to fund research into this type of cancer for three years. Alex continues to fight in Charlotte’s name, and to help others affected by the disease. The award was presented by Christine Lampard.

Sandi Toksvig, President of Women of the Year, said, “For over 60 years, Women of the Year has proudly recognised and celebrated the achievements of some of the world’s most incredible and bravest women. These women range from the super famous to unsung heroines who are the backbones of charities, emergency and medical services, industries and indeed every profession possible. The remarkable women who make up the attendees and winners at this year’s lunch are being recognised for their work making the world a better place.”

Jane Luca, Chair of Women of the Year, added, “I am extremely proud of the 2017 Women of the Year Award winners and all 400 women of achievement who joined us today. This year’s ceremony recognised and celebrated the bravery of women from our emergency, medical and rescue services both in the UK and internationally in what has been a challenging year. The stories of their heroism are endless.

“As I step down and look back on my four years as Chair of Women of the Year, I am very proud that we have continued to shine a light on extraordinary and amazing women and this year is no exception.”

Sponsored by Barclays, Prudential, Good Housekeeping and ITV’s Lorraine, the event, which is in its 62nd year was held at the Intercontinental London Park Lane.