Celebrating the Most Inspirational Women of Merseyside
In they strode; radiant, colourful, hand in hand, triumphant. You could feel the energy rising with every smile that graced the red carpet of the the splendid “Merseyside Women of The Year” awards.
I had the privilege of a front row view; stationed at my aromatherapy stall, the guests glided towards me and I felt I knew them, every one. All sixteen heroine finalists had previously shared their phenomenal stories when up for the public vote. Such was the calibre, I had pondered how to split my single vote sixteen ways.
All guests seated. It was time. Time for a neat line of supercharged talent to emerge from the VIP area . To rapturous applause they entered the sparkling arena, heads high with Peggy Lee beating out the rhythm of their footsteps. “I’m a woman W-O-M-A-N. I’ll say it again”
Outside the celebration room, amid the excitement, a bottle of “Breast Friend” toppled from my stall and burst open. The lady from the Crowne Plaza appeared in seconds. Quickly we knelt together to unglaze the floor “Oh that smells gorgeous! what’s in it?” she asked’. “Something to lift your mood and your boobs” I sported. Then the two of us lost it laughing.
Emotions suddenly changed when the doors to the celebration room opened and a teary-eyed guest appeared dabbing her eyes . Barely audible she sighed, “that woman’s story really got to me”.
I didn’t know who’s story it was. It didn’t matter.
It could have been any one of the many brilliant woman in this carousel of talent and tenacity.
Deep breath now, here goes:
There was the woman who climbed Kilimanjaro fundraising, the “triumph over adversity women”, the women transforming major finance and energy sectors for the good of mankind. The unsung heroes, the community champions valiantly pouring their heart and soul into the places they live and love. The charity leaders fighting the good fight against abuse. hunger and poverty. Women unburdening and releasing others from the shackles of debt. Then there’s the woman who channelled her pain and loss into supporting men’s mental health in her brother’s name. The entrepreneurs who celebrate diversity joyfully and creatively, these women don’t hide, they dance! Women shining light on the marginalised, pouring support and education on autism, flying the flag for parent carers, protecting victims of racial abuse, religious abuse, “honour” based abuse. The innovator improving the quality of life for our ageing generation. The woman standing up for gender equality and making sure the menopause doesn’t rob the workplace of our glorious talent. Entrepreneurs creating hundreds of jobs for local people, strong sustainable brands empowering women, brands supporting other females in business.
In a tumultuous time of embarrassing politics, these women roll up their sleeves and get the job done.
Ladies, take a bow!
The Inspirational women truly “getting the big calls right”.
As the party drew to a close a gent stopped to say “My wife’s a legend”. What an accolade. Those four words introduced me to Debbie who spoke with humility yet could not hide her love and passion for her community. She browsed my stall and left with a beautiful blue bottle of “Sleep”. Tonight of all nights I expected sixteen heads would greet their pillows with a deserved sense of contentment and accomplishment.
“My mum won an award” beamed one woman, and what a mum. Affectionately known as “The Duchess of Bootle” she radiated a youthful energy even after 45 years of selflessly hard graft. Our two worlds combined when she reminisced about the aromatherapy massage she received in hospital when she was seriously ill. She spoke of the positive effect it had on her. It was music to my ears – I will forever champion the power of aroma and the comforting connection massage and touch therapy brings.
As I packed away my goods, the final word came from Emma, founder of Dear Bump. She and I started a business when the pandemic tried to derail us. She was driven to support pregnant women, I was driven to support persons living with dementia. “How’s it been for you, Paula?” “Fabulously exhausting!” I smiled.
Emma disappeared, then reappeared placing a glass of wine in my hand. As we stood outside the celebration room she raised her glass “Cheers to those in there … and us out here!”
I loved that moment.
Here’s the final image I want to leave you with; a woman heartily hugging my young daughter as she served our customers to the encouraging words “Thank you brilliant girl!”
Meanwhile the wonderful Poppy, a wise head on young shoulders worked away cheerfully, mixing, mingling and offering her help. Then a flash of red whizzed by in a Liverpool F.C. Kit. A sight that roared “This girl can!”. You can’t help but wonder how big a mark the MWOTY celebration has made on these young minds.
Congratulations to the overall winner, Jubeda Khatun and sincere thanks to the volunteer event assistants- aka The Dexies – we couldn’t have asked for greater care and attention. Days like these don’t happen without fabulous people like you working tirelessly serving and championing others.
Who knows who’ll be in the VIP area next year?
There’s plenty of time to get your inspiration on.
Here’s to MWOTY Awards – 30th June 2023