Madhuri Dixit, honoured at third, annual Bradford Inspirational Women Awards

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Cheryl Holdsworth, Public Services Award winner, with cast of C4's BIG Ballet

Cheryl Holdsworth, Public Services Award winner, with cast of C4’s BIG Ballet

Indian cinema’s most lauded actress and role model, Madhuri Dixit, was honoured as the most Inspirational Female Bollywood Icon, as voted by the public, at the third, annual Bradford Inspirational Women Awards (BIWA) on Saturday 29th March at the Hilton Hotel, Bradford.

Last year, as the world celebrated 100 years of Bollywood cinema, a special category was announced at BIWA 2013 for the public to nominate their most Inspirational Female Bollywood Icon. The winner, by public nomination, was Madhuri Dixit. In a special video message played at the event, the celebrated actress said, “Greetings everyone. I wanted to reach out and thank the Inspirational Women’s Foundation for choosing me as the most inspirational Female Bollywood Icon of all times. It’s indeed a great honour.

I’ve been a staunch advocate of women’s empowerment and I’ve worked hard throughout my career to advance the cause. It is heartening to see that gender equality is really becoming more of a reality. There is still much more to be done and I’m confident that, by working together, we can empower women worldwide. I would personally like to thank Fatima Patel, Jane Vincent and the Inspirational Women’s Foundation for making this possible. Thank you.”

The unsung female heroes of Bradford were also once again honoured for their contributions and achievements across public and home life at the coveted award ceremony, which continues to go from strength to strength, with a new category added each year. This year’s new category was Inspirational Woman in Public Services. In addition, two Special Awards were presented on the night by the founders of the Inspirational Woman Foundation – a not for profit organisation established to work with and to support women, be it at home, in the workplace, in the community or in business, of which the Inspirational Women Awards are now a part.

An independent panel of judges comprising Adeeba Malik MBE; Deputy Chief Executive of Bradford-based charity, QED; David Ward MP, Bradford East; and Susan Jones, HR Director, Freeman Grattan Holdings selected the category winners, which were announced on the night.

This year’s winners:

Inspirational Community Star – Maralyn Adey, Founder, charities Learning Disability Hospital Support, and Sing from the Heart

Inspirational Woman in Public Services – Cheryl Holdsworth, Year 3 teacher at St C of E Primary School

Inspirational Employee – Halima Khan, County Sports Development Officer, West Yorkshire Sport

Inspirational Business Woman – Liz Weatherill, Director of Enable 2 CIC

Inspirational Woman in Sports – Mumtaz Khan, Founder, Onna Ju-Jitsu Club

Inspirational Mum – Shameem Shah, single mother of three daughters and a foster parent to several others

Inspirational Woman of The Year and Winner of two return tickets to New York, courtesy British Airways – Dawn Williams-Urch, Mother, Telecommunications Officer, Team Manager at local rugby club.

Special Founders Award – Sandy Needham, CEO, West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce

Bradford Inspirational Women of the Year 2014 award winners with event Founder and Host, Fatima Patel

Bradford Inspirational Women of the Year 2014 award winners with event Founder and Host, Fatima Patel

Bradford Inspirational Women Awards (BIWA) was founded by Bradford born and bred Fatima Patel, Editor, Asian Sunday – the country’s first FREE Sunday newspaper. The Awards were established to showcase Bradford’s most inspirational women across public and home life, with a view to inspire and aspire future generations.

Speaking at the event, Fatima said, “I am truly overwhelmed by the support received from Bradford Council, MP’s and businesses across the district. The Inspirational Women Awards has truly been a worthy cause, as the funds generated will now be used for the Foundation’s first project. The project has actually been inspired from the journey of our Inspirational Bollywood Icon winner, Madhuri Dixit. It was inspiring to see how, at the height of her career, she left India to settle in Denver and have a family. The world of the East and West is different and I think Madhuri went back to India stronger. We want to invite women who live in rural villages to come to the UK and spend time shadowing inspirational women here, to be able to help them learn skills and see how life is lived here in the West. More so to be aspired and inspired with a view to improving lives. We will be starting the first pilot with women from India and will then work with many other countries to deliver, exchange trips. There is always something we can learn from each other.”

Fellow Bradfordian and businesswoman Jane Vincent (Owner of recruitment company, Candelisa People; and Co-founder of CIC, Positive Bradford) said, ”The Inspirational Women Awards are just getting bigger and bigger each year. We’ve already been asked to reserve tickets from people for next year. It’s great to see so much support.”

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