Inspirational Essex women “Mum’s the word”

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Justine LaymondMums are more inspirational than celebrities according to a new survey in Essex, with almost 80% of us agreeing there is a lack of inspirational female roles models in the UK.

The survey conducted by British Gas to support the Inspirational Women of the Year Awards, found that adults in the East of England are more likely to be inspired by female family members than celebrities with over three quarters agreeing that their mother had inspired them throughout their lifetime.

Sponsored by British Gas, the seventh Inspirational Women of the Year Awards will recognise ordinary women who are achieving extraordinary things and inspiring others through their leadership, courage, determination and triumph.

Last year’s programme recognised a host of incredible women, including Justine Laymond from Broomfield, who had a double lung transplant after suffering from a rare condition called Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM).

She has since raised over £10,000 for charity, won medals in the European and World Transplant Games in sprinting, badminton, squash, long jump, shot put, discus, javelin, archery and volleyball and in 2011 made history as the first person with a double lung transplant to sail across the Atlantic.

From thousands of entries, judges will handpick five finalists who will be invited to attend a reception at 10 Downing Street, hosted by Samantha Cameron, followed by a charity gala on Monday, 11 November. All proceeds raised will be donated to British Gas’s charity partner Shelter, the largest homelessness charity in England and Scotland. The prize for the 2013 Inspirational Woman of the Year is a luxury break to the value of £5,000.

“Many people draw inspiration from the women they know in everyday life, whether a friend, a colleague or a member of their family,” says Anna Filipopoulos, HR Director for British Gas. “However, our research shows that people in the East of England believe that inspirational women do not always get the recognition they deserve.

“Both men and women in the East of England agree that there is a lack of inspirational female role models in the UK. That’s why we are looking for examples of those women in the East of England who work hard to help and encourage others around them. We want to hear your stories of ordinary women who achieve extraordinary things.

“At British Gas, many of our 30,000 people regularly help out in their local community with charities, sports clubs and community groups. As Britain’s biggest energy provider, we felt it was important to recognise contribution of inspirational women in the communities that we work in, and we’re delighted to be sponsoring the awards, which will also benefit our charity partner, Shelter.”

Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said: “We are thrilled to be involved in this year’s Inspirational Women of the Year awards with British Gas, and to play a part in offering Britain’s most inspirational women the recognition they deserve.

“Shelter provides support to over three million people each year who are struggling with bad housing and homelessness, and the money raised from this year’s event will help us to continue our vital work keeping a roof over the heads of families in need.”

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