Yesterday Avon and national domestic violence charity Women’s Aid honoured the achievements of three remarkable women at the inaugural Avon and Women’s Aid Empowering Women Awards (16 June 2010).
The awards ceremony and afternoon tea event, held at The Dorchester Hotel in London, was attended by VIPs including Women’s Aid ambassador Sarah Brown, and supporters Fay Ripley and Beverley Knight, who also presented awards at the exclusive event. Other guests, including actress Angela Griffin and presenter Lisa Faulkner, attended the afternoon tea held in honour of the winners.
The awards recognise the achievements and bravery of women survivors of domestic violence and those who work and campaign to support victims of abuse through three categories; Woman Survivor of the Year, Marie Claire Campaigner Against Domestic Violence and Grass Roots Hero.
Following public nominations, a panel of high profile judges: Avon Global ambassador Reese Witherspoon, Avon UK President Anna Segatti, Women’s Aid patron Sarah Brown, Women’s Aid ambassador Tana Ramsay, Women’s Aid chief executive Nicola Harwin and Marie Claire editor Trish Halpin, selected three winners from the many inspiring stories received.
Avon and Women’s Aid Empowering Women Award Winners
Woman Survivor of the Year
This award was presented by Beverley Knight and Nicola Harwin, chief executive of Women’s Aid to Kerry Whincup. Kerry, from Devon, suffered horrifically at the hands of an abusive partner for over seven years and has since dedicated over 13 years to helping other women escape abuse in the South-West.
Marie Claire Campaigner Against Domestic Violence
This award was presented by Women’s Aid ambassador, Tana Ramsay and editor of Marie Claire magazine Trish Halpin to Lesley Patterson. Lesley, from Liverpool, was nominated by her daughter Emma Hayes in recognition of over 30 year’s commitment to creating and safeguarding vital services in the Merseyside area.
Grass Roots Hero
This award was presented by Avon’s Angela Tucker and actress and Women’s Aid supporter Fay Ripley to Susan Ashcombe-Hurt. Susan, a volunteer at Crewe Women’s Aid, has been given the award in recognition of a decade of dedication as a volunteer treasurer and trustee in expanding service provision and making every penny count.
Susan will also receive a £10,000 donation from Avon to put towards equipping and setting up a volunteer program for an outreach support centre in Crewe.
Commented Beverley Knight:
"The work that Avon and Women’s Aid are doing is incredible. Today’s event gave us a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of some wonderful women who make a really positive impact on other women’s lives."
Nicola Harwin CBE, chief executive of Women’s Aid said:
"Thousands of unsung heroes around the country work discretely and tirelessly saving hundreds of thousands of lives every year. Wherever you live, there are women and children in your neighbourhood experiencing domestic violence.
"It is an honour to have the unprecedented opportunity to formally recognize some of the inspirational women who live among us and their achievements in empowering themselves and others to live free from domestic violence."
Anna Segatti, President of Avon UK commented:
"We should all play a part in breaking down the barrier of silence around domestic violence, which has been kept in the dark for too long. By working with Women's Aid, Avon can help facilitate better services for women experiencing domestic violence and give them the ways to speak more openly about abuse.
"At Avon we believe that if you empower women you can change the world. These awards celebrate the courage of women who have experienced domestic violence and the unflagging efforts of those who support them."