It was an absolute honour to attend Sue Ryder’s Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards this year, in recognition of my social enterprise Spoonie Survival Kits. After being nominated initially by my lovely friend Naomi, I was over the moon to be shortlisted for the Jane Tomlinson Woman of Courage Award and invited to attend the ceremony at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.
The ceremony itself was awesome. If you know me personally, you’ll know that I don’t thrive in posh environments (I’m more of a McDonalds kinda gal) and so I was actually a little nervous at attending a high profile event: I’d never been to anything like this before. I was fretting over everything from what to wear to which fork you’re supposed to use to when you’re supposed to hand-shake/ kiss-on-cheek/ thug-life-fist-bump the people around you, but I needn’t have worried. Everybody there was lovely, and the event was prestigious without being uppity and proper and posh; I think that’s a pretty good summary of Yorkshire in general, actually…
Proceedings kicked off with a welcome from representatives of the charity, and we dove straight into things with the announcement that the Yorkshire Rose Award would be given posthumously to Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen. Hearing from Jo’s parents and sister, who accepted the award on her behalf, was so moving, and celebrating her life was a poignant beginning to the rest of the event.
A fabulous three course meal came next, alongside various fundraising games and activities. The meal was amazing, apparently… the poor caterers really struggled with my food allergies: twice I was served a meal that they repeatedly assured me was okay when I asked them, only to have them come speeding back to take it away from me legitimately right before I was about to have my first bite. That was a tiny buzzkill, as would anaphylaxis have been if I’d eaten it, but what I could eat was so yummy: a really enjoyable meal in excellent company.
I knew from the get-go that I wasn’t going to be a winner this time: what I do with Spoonie Survival Kits is pretty cool, but these women were in a whole other league. Every single winner, and the overall winner Bana Gora, were so deserving; I left feeling honoured that I was even deemed worthy of sitting in a room full of these incredible Yorkshire lasses. To be nominated, let alone shortlisted, for an award with Jane Tomlinson’s name on it? Still quite unbelievable, and an excellent source of motivation to carry on fundraising.
The whole day really opened my eyes to how much Sue Ryder relies on public fundraising to continue the incredible work they do, providing neurological and end-of-life care. After chatting to some of the lovely hospice nurses throughout the day, I added raising awareness of this incredible cause to my mental to-do list and I’d absolutely love it if you did the same. You can find out more about their cause, and how you can help, here.
Thank you so much to everybody at Sue Ryder for having me, and for putting on such a lovely event that will forever mark a milestone for Spoonie Survival Kits, and for myself too!