Inspirational Woman Award 2016 finalists are announced

Published: Friday, 19 February 2016

The finalists for Northampton’s Inspirational Woman Award 2016 have been announced.

Four inspirational women were nominated for the difference each of them has made to people’s lives and the wider community and were shortlisted from over 40 nominations.

The Inspirational Woman Award 2016 is presented by Northampton Borough Council in partnership with BBC Radio Northampton and Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire to celebrate and showcase Northampton’s unsung heroines who work hard all year round.

Councillor Anna King, Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet member for Community Safety and Co-Chair of Northampton Women’s Forum said: “We received some fantastic nominations this year and after a lot of deliberation the judging panel finally agreed on the shortlist. All four women shortlisted really are amazing and are a true inspiration. All of the women who were nominated deserve praise and recognition for what they do and cutting the list down to a shortlist of four was not easy.”

The shortlist for the Inspirational Woman Award 2016 is:

Shena Cooper
Shena Cooper set up Fruitful Abundance in 2014 to encourage people to grow, cook and eat good food. She was instrumental in setting up Northamptonshire's first seed swap event “Seedy Saturday” in February 2015. After visiting The Real Junk Food Project in Leeds she helped launched Elsie's Food Waste Café in Northampton on the same day. Realising that many resources are used to grow, pack and deliver food from farms all around the world, she was determined that Northampton could play its part in reducing the amount of edible food sent to landfill. As a keen grower and educator, she also set up the Green Village area at Northamptonshire's Umbrella Fair and has helped relaunch the Flower and Produce show which will have its second event in August.

Margaret Gill
Margaret is the most inspiring yoga teacher and has been teaching yoga for over 45 years. Now in her eighties, Margaret’s classes continue to be fresh and relevant and her body and mind are in amazing shape. While many would think of retiring at Margaret’s age, she keeps going as she loves yoga so much. Margaret has such a positive outlook on life and her classes are an oasis of calm, relaxation and fun. She really cares about her class members and has become close friends with many of them over the years.

Sara Jones
Working with schools in socially deprived areas, Sara has taught children how to grow vegetables and fruit, recycle waste to make toys and gifts, and cook healthy food using left over food in the “Love Food Hate Waste” campaign. Sara wrote the Northampton Community Foundation funded “Community Garden Project” in Blackthorn to help children in a socially deprived area learn the importance of gardening and growing food. She also works on the Heritage Lottery Funded “Abington Park Outdoor Classroom Project” an environmental community education project for Abington Park. These are only a few of the projects which Sara has organised over the last few years which have created volunteering and work opportunities for many.

Freda Gardner
Freda is 90 years old and still volunteers at least once a week at the NAB charity shop on Wellingborough Road. She is a great, great grandmother and the matriarch of a large extended family. She is a fantastic neighbour in her community and her get up and go attitude is an inspiration to all. A wonderful woman with a live and let live, devil may care outlook and a real zest for life.

The winner of Northampton’s Inspirational Woman Award 2016 will be presented with the award at the International Women’s Day 2016 event held at the Guildhall on Saturday 5 March.

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