Finalists Announced for Sue Ryder Southern Women of Achievement Awards 2020

The shortlist for the Sue Ryder Southern Women of Achievement Awards 2020 has been revealed.

36 inspirational women from across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire have been shortlisted for this year’s awards, which celebrate outstanding achievements in business, sport, community and public service. There are also awards to recognise courage in the face of adversity, creative thinking and those who have mentored others.

The nominations include the following Henley residents:

Business Award

Laura Poole
Laura Poole runs a dog walking business, Woofits Walkies, and organised the Woofits 5km Charity Dog Walk in 2019 to raise money for Sue Ryder South Oxfordshire Palliative Care Hub in memory of her father.

Community Award

Andrea Chanter
Andrea greets families at the cemetery in Rotherfield Greys with consideration and empathy in all weathers and gives so much care and support both then and on subsequent occasions. She was nominated for going the extra mile for people she has never met.

Woman/Women of Achievement in Sport

Claire McIntosh
Claire Mcintosh is currently the Chairman of the Race Committee at Henley Women’s Regatta. She has been involved in the organising of the regatta for over 5 years.

Claire has been instrumental in leading a team that has revolutionised the competition structure within the regatta to become more inclusive and ensure the very best of racing across all levels of competitor from aspirational to elite. This has helped grow the entry to record levels in 2019 with more crews than ever entering this premier event.

Claire is completely dedicated to ensuring that the sport of rowing is accessible for all, giving up so much time across many aspects of rowing to ensure people can enjoy the sport.

Mentor/Coach of the Year Award

Steph Maxwell
Steph has been running fun and friendly dance classes for girls and boys at Divas and Dudes Dance Academy in Henley since 2018. She was nominated by a parent, who said: “she believes in the children she works with and makes them believe in themselves. She has given confidence to so many little children, allowing them to get over their fears whilst taking part in many performances she arranges throughout the year.”

Steph has been described as having an “incredible energy and positive attitude” and regularly visits local schools, pre schools and nurseries to deliver fun and energetic dance and music sessions.

Gail Rosier
Over 30 years ago Gail Rosier, together with the late Robina Nicholson, started the Acorn Music Theatre Company. The purpose was to advance the education of young people in the art of theatre, music and other performing arts, irrespective of abilities and backgrounds, by creating original music theatre based on multicultural myths, legends and world stories. During that time countless young people have benefited from Gail’s great talent to nurture their abilities, encourage their creativity and challenge them to stretch the boundaries of their imaginations.

Many young people who have attended the Acorn Music Theatre Company have gone on to have successful professional careers in the arts, winning awards as writers, musicians, performers and designers.

Martina Swinburn
Martina Swinburn is part of the welfare team at Henley Rowing Club. She gives her time voluntarily to ensure that the club functions well from a welfare and safeguarding perspective.

Beyond this, she personally takes time to individually support many of junior members to achieve their best towards their rowing goals by helping them to build their resilience to handle the many facets of the sport, including the emotional demands of performance and crew selection, alongside school work, exams and personal circumstances. She also keeps a watchful eye on the wellbeing of coaches and committee members.

The winners will be revealed at a black tie gala dinner at the Phyllis Court Club in Henley on 13 March, hosted by BBC Radio Berkshire presenter Michelle Jordan.

Gemma Wise, Community Fundraising Manager at Sue Ryder South Oxfordshire Palliative Care Hub, said: “Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate in this year’s awards. Once again the standard of nominations has been exceptionally high, showcasing the incredible achievements of women in our region. We wish all nominees the very best of luck at the awards, which provide a well-deserved opportunity to celebrate their success.

We’d also like to say a special thank you to Invesco, our headline sponsor, and category sponsors CH&CO, The Russell Partnership Collection, Lifecycle Management Group and The Ironing Lady. We are very grateful for their continued support through our period of transition.”

Claire Myers, Charity and Community Support Manager at Invesco, said: “We have sponsored the Sue Ryder Southern Women of Achievement Awards since their inception and are delighted to continue to do so. We feel it’s important to recognise people in the community who go above and beyond in order to support their friends, colleagues and local communities. This is a chance to shine a light on them and their organisations and say thank you for all they do, whilst raising vital funds to help the Sue Ryder South Oxfordshire Palliative Care Hub continue their good work in our community.”

All proceeds from the event will go to the Sue Ryder South Oxfordshire Palliative Care Hub, which provides expert care and compassion to people aged 18 and over who are living with life-limiting conditions such as cancer, heart failure and lung disease.

Tickets to the awards ceremony are on sale until 28 February and cost £75pp or £700 for a table of 10. To book a ticket, visit: or call 01491 641384 ext 246.

The full list of nominees is as follows:

The Invesco Business Award (sponsored by Invesco)

  • Hilary Buckle – Barrett & Co Solicitors LLP, Reading
  • Rose Grimond – Nettlebed Creamery, Nettlebed
  • Barb Grigor – The Field Kitchen, Nettlebed
  • Sue McAuley – Pink Accounting Resources Ltd, Marlow
  • Louise Rice – Dukes Wine Bar, Princes Risborough

The Invesco Community Award (sponsored by Invesco)

  • Maureen Norton
  • Deja Vu Fundraising Group
  • Celia Collett
  • Laura Poole
  • Amanda Foister
  • Helen Liddar
  • Margaret Butler
  • Anne Jackson
  • Andrea Chanter
  • Sandra Cooper Smith

Woman / Women of Achievement in Sport (sponsored by The Russell Partnership Collection)

  • Tara Suthoff-Christ
  • Claire McIntosh
  • Ali Young

Woman of Achievement in Public Service (sponsored by Lifecycle Management Group)

  • Lynda Atkins
  • Melissa Walker
  • Laura Franklin
  • Olivia Graham

The Robyn Jones Courage Award (sponsored by CH&CO)

  • Flora Barton
  • Nicky Clifford
  • Barbara Chandler
  • Balwinder Kapila
  • Kitty Tait

The Innovation Award

  • Sarah Burns-Smart
  • Wendy Dunn
  • Susanna Cesar-Morton

Mentor / Coach of the Year Award (sponsored by The Ironing Lady)

  • Steph Maxwell
  • Gail Rosier
  • Tamsin Phipps
  • Martina Swinburn
  • Elspleth Denchfield

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