Tears, smiles and lots of joy at the very first Empowering Women Awards at London's Dorchester
There were tears, smiles and lots of cake at yesterday's Avon and Women's Aid Empowering Women Awards.
Held in association with Marie Claire, the inaugural awards were launched to recognise the achievements and bravery of women survivors of domestic violence and those who work and campaign to support victims of abuse, and we couldn't have been more delighted to be a part of the emotional but uplifting day.
Judges of the awards included 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 our editor-in-chief Trish Halpin, who along with Sarah Brown, was on hand to present the Marie Claire Campaigner Against Domestic Violence award to Lesley Patterson.
Patterson (pictured above with Sarah Brown and Trish Halpin) was honoured for her work in the Merseyside area of Liverpool, where for 30 years she has been tirelessly working to help provide services for women who've suffered from domestic violence.
'I'm very proud for Marie Claire to be associated with these awards,' says Trish Halpin. 'At Marie Claire issues that affect women like domestic violence have always been at the top of our agenda. Every minute in the UK, the police receive a call from a woman experiencing domestic violence, while two women every week are killed by a male partner or ex partner. Speaking out about this issue through the pages of our magazine or on our website, and celebrating survivors and campaigners through awards like these will - we hope - make a big step towards change.'
The Woman Survivor of the Year award was presented by Beverley Knight and Women's Aid chief executive Nicola Harwin to Kerry Whincup, who left an abusive partner 13 years ago and has been dedicated to helping other women escape from similar experiences in the South West ever since.
The final award of the afternoon, presented just before everyone tucked into afternoon tea, was the Grass Roots Hero. Presented by Avon's Angela Tucker and Women's Aid supporter Fay Ripley to volunteer Susan Ashcombe-Hurt, the award includes a £10,000 donation from Avon to put towards equipping and setting up a volunteer program for an outreach support centre in Crewe where Ashcombe-Hurt is based.
To read more about the awards, log onto womensaid.org.uk.
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