Val Stonor Wins Woman of Achievement in Community Sue Ryder Award

Photo: Martin Pickles

The Sue Ryder Southern Women of Achievement Awards, sponsored by Invesco Perpetual, was held on Friday 10th March, celebrating women from across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Over 200 people attended the event at Trunkwell House Hotel, Reading and raised £40,508 on the day to support the care provided by Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent hospice in Reading, Newbury and Wokingham day hospices and Nettlebed hospice.

Val Stoner was the only Henley winner and won the award for Woman of Achievement in Community.  Val was nominated for dedicating the greater part of her life to doing good in the community, initiating various alternative and wellness programmes, related to both mental and physical well-being. She was born in the Henley area and has lived here for the greater part of her life. When her two sons were school age she volunteered for the WRVS (Women‟s Royal Voluntary Service) in 1960s Henley, delivering meals on wheels from the Over 60s Club. She trained to be part of a team to deal with national emergencies, despite not liking the sight of blood. She has dedicated the greater part of her life to doing good in the community, initiating various alternative and wellness programmes, related to both mental and physical well-being.  She founded the Henley Be Well Centre 2000 and she recently set up Eco Henley to tackle the pollution in Henley

She said after receiving the award: “I have to say that I am really grateful for winning this award, and truly humbled by it. I’ve always had fun fundraising and hope to continue to do that for the rest of my life.”

Emily Wilkinson won the Young Women if Achievement.  Emily is currently serving as Head of College at Shiplake College, the first girl in the school’s history to be given this position.  Emily has overcome the death of her mother and the debilitating bowel condition Crohn’s disease. She’s achieved Grade 8 ballet, she’s been a national drill champion with Air Cadets, a Young Ambassador for the charity Daisy’s Dream and has also completed both her practice and assessed expeditions for her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.

On winning the award Emily said: “I’m completely honoured and amazed that I won this award and I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone that made it possible.”

The event was hosted by Jonty Hearnden, celebrity auctioneer and antiques dealer who appears regularly on TV shows ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is’ and ‘Cash in the Attic.’ He said: “It was a very special event for a great charity. The day was fun to do and was very uplifting and rewarding.”

The other winners in each category are as follows.

Woman of Achievement in Business – Mary Flavelle

Mary was nominated for her service to the business community across the Thames Valley region for the past 20 years, always selflessly giving back to both the business and charitable community. 10 years ago Mary co-launched a national women’s business network called Ladies Who Latte, and is celebrating the fact that over 10,000 business women have attended this network throughout that period.

She commented: “I just want to say a huge thank you to Sue Ryder for running these awards, I’m so proud to have won Women of Achievement in Business. Ladies who Latte started 10 years ago, it’s our special year this year and on behalf of all of us, thank you very much!”

Woman of Achievement in Sport – Rochelle Clark MBE

Rochelle is an English female rugby union player and represented England at both the 2010 and 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup. Rochelle is in her 14th consecutive calendar year at international level. She was a key part of the victorious team that were crowned World Champions for the first time in 20 years in August 2014.

Woman of Courage Award – Isobel Kennerley

Born with cerebral palsy and debilitatingly shy as a youngster, Isobel’s life has been far from easy. Isobel was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2014 yet constantly pushes herself to do things outside her comfort zone and frequently outside her physical limitations. Isobel is very courageous and has done her best to fight off the fear, disability, poverty and loneliness that an illness like this one brings.

Woman of Achievement in Education – Pauline Harper

Pauline is passionate about ensuring children are given a life skill and gives up huge amounts of her time mentoring children that need help with their reading and general confidence and self-esteem, as well as ensuring families are given the support that is required.

Sue Ryder Recognition Award – Celia Reuter & The Finchampstead Support Group

They have worked extremely hard to fundraise for Nettlebed and Duchess of Kent Hospice over the past 23 years. The fundraising committee plan events every year including an Autumn Fayre, coffee mornings and quiz nights and have raised in excess of £200,000 over the years.

Woman of Achievement in Services and the overall Robyn Jones award – Flight Sergeant Anna Irwin

Anna is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan having done 9 tours in total. In April 2016 Anna was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. In January this year, courageous and adventurous Anna launched a serious of challenges in order to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust and the Royal Marsden and has already raised £40,000

Anna was unable to attend the awards but passed on her message: “Wow, I’m totally shocked and completely humbled to have received these awards, this is just overwhelming.  I’d like to congratulate everyone else nominated for all the work that they’ve been doing. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone at Sue Ryder for even thinking and considering me and I’d like to thank them for all the work they do in helping people in my situation deal with coming to terms with and coping with their illnesses, and the care they give to people and their families which is just outstanding.”

The awards ceremony consisted of a three course meal and complimentary drinks reception. Entertainment was provided by Hollie De Villier, offering unique jazz and pop performances. Auction prizes included afternoon tea and a tour of Buckingham Palace for four, donated by CH&Co; Twelve Seater Motor Launch for two hours donated by Hobbs of Henley; Ukulele signed by singer-songwriter Sam Brown and Henley Royal Regatta badges.

Liz Hopkins and Rosina Lilley, Nursing Assistants at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent hospice spoke about their experience of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in December 2016 in aid of the charity, while Sonning Common resident Chrissie Phillips-Tilbury gave an emotional speech about the care her husband John had received from Nettlebed hospice and their community care team.

Tracey Hancock, Head of Fundraising at Sue Ryder’s Duchess of Kent and Nettlebed hospices, said: ‘It was a wonderful afternoon and we congratulate all the nominees and winners. It is so nice to be able to recognise the contribution so many women make so selflessly within the community whilst also celebrating the incredible care Sue Ryder provides for people living with life limiting conditions. We are very grateful to all our sponsors and to all those who supported the evening whose contribution will help towards the £3.7m we need to raise each year to continue to provide all the services we offer within Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.’

The event was sponsored by Invesco Perpetual and CH&Co.

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