Redcar and Cleveland’s Inspiring Women 2023 – Winners Announced

Inspiring women from across Redcar and Cleveland have been honoured at a special ceremony.

Held in the Bellamy Pavilion at Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar, the seventh annual Inspiring Women Awards saw Theresa Cave named the winner of the overall Mo Mowlam Award in memory of the former Redcar MP.

Theresa, who also won the Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by Cygnet Law, has worked tirelessly to prevent and deter young people from carrying a knife or committing violent crime since her son Chris, was fatally stabbed nearly 20 years ago.

Theresa has dedicated her life through the Chris Cave Foundation, a charity set up in her son’s name to fight against gun and knife crime and to offer comfort and support to those across the UK who have lost a loved one to murder or manslaughter.

Theresa worked hard to bring the iconic ‘Knife Angel’ to Kirkleatham last year, a sculpture which is made from more than 100,000 seized knifes and blades and expanded her education programme to go into schools and colleges to speak to youngsters about knife crime.

Other sponsors of the awards included SABIC, PD Ports, Anglo American, Taylor Wimpey, and Beyond Housing, with Zetland FM sponsoring the Julie Donaldson Volunteering Award, made in tribute to the former breakfast presenter and previous host of the award ceremony.

This year’s winners were:

  • Anna Liddle won the Julie Donaldson Volunteer Award, sponsored by Zetland FM, for working tirelessly to rally a group of like-minded volunteers to create Saltburn Skate Park and Sport CIC to enable their dream to become a reality.
  • Liz Atkin won the Woman in Business Award, sponsored by Taylor Wimpey, for using her copywriting and brand agency Blonde Creative to be a force for good, actively supporting, championing and connecting other local businesses.
  • Beth Major won the Woman in Leadership Award, sponsored by Anglo American, for her dedication to transform the lives of children through her work as CEO of the Junction Foundation.
  • Emily Gibson won the Young Woman Award, sponsored by Beyond Housing, for overcoming her learning difficulties to qualify as a lifeguard. She undertook work experience to help other children with their learning difficulties and achieve qualifications in subjects which were very challenging for her.
  • Rita Richardson won the Inspiring Others Award, sponsored by PD Ports, for her drive and determination to keep the Eston Hills safe from illegal quad biking, litter issues and fire problems.

Announcing Theresa as the Mo Mowlam award winner, Claire Wordsworth from the category sponsor SABIC said:

“It was an honour and a privilege to present the Mo Mowlam Award to Theresa. Theresa has used her grief for her son as a driver to prevent the same situation happening to another family or supporting those who tragically suffer an unnecessary loss. She has made some incredible achievements with the Chris Cave Foundation in raising awareness of knife crime and in bringing the Knife Angel sculpture to Redcar.  I am also aware of the additional work she has undertaken in the community, such as delivering food parcels during the pandemic and hampers to those in need at Christmas. Her commitment to the community and to the Foundation is truly incredible and something we are delighted to recognise and appreciate.”

In partnership with the Council, the project also inspires the next generation by providing school pupils with work shadowing opportunities with leading women in business, local government, and the community.

Amanda Olvanhill, Head of Employability at Redcar & Cleveland Council, spoke during the event explaining what a positive impact the work-shadowing project had made to young women in the region.

Jo Yaldren, the overall winner of the 2022 event was a keynote speaker at the award ceremony. Jo was forced to retire after being one of the youngest people in the country diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s’ Disease. However, this has not stopped her from wanting to make a difference in her community.

Joanna Andrews, Managing Director for Charm Productions and Chair of the Inspiring Women Group said:

“The Inspiring Women Awards continues to go from strength to strength. Every year we get to hear about more community projects and groups we may not have known about. It’s wonderful to be able to highlight the important work being done in our area. I’m especially proud and happy we’ve added a new category this year to recognise women whose work has spanned decades. There is no event quite like this and I can’t think of any project that brings together women and girls in celebration along with local business leaders, councillors, politicians, and volunteers. We continue to be bowled over by the generosity of our sponsors and the fantastic nominations we get from people in our area.  We look forward to developing the project further during 2024.”

Cllr Mary Lanigan, Leader of the Council, said:

“Every year, I am always in awe of the women recognised at this fantastic awards ceremony. They are our local heroes who work tirelessly to make our community a better place to live, work and visit. I’d like to congratulate this year’s winners and thank them for the incredible contribution they make to our area. I’d also like to thank everyone behind the scenes. The group behind the project not only put on a great event, but they help create work shadowing opportunities for local schoolgirls, who may one day become leaders and trailblazers themselves. This is such a worthwhile project, and long may it continue.”

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