Searching for talented women in the arts and sports world

Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in the Arts: Top women in the artistic life of Northern Ireland may be actresses, directors, musicians, artists or playwrights — our shortlists in the past four years have included distinguished women from various arts backgrounds.

John Maguire, group managing director of Belleek Pottery Group. He says:

“Belleek Living is delighted to sponsor the 2011 Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in the Arts category and to play our part in raising the profile of the contribution made by women to arts and culture. Thanks to the array of talent on offer across the province, we are spoilt for choice in areas such as music, literature, theatre, dance, painting, sculpture, craft, film and photography.

We are very proud to help bring recognition to the local women who are leading the way, in terms of their individual talent and those nurturing the outstanding prospects of the future, in the arts community.”

BT Inspirational Woman of the Year

This is one of the most important Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year awards and always attracts the kind of humbling nominations that remain in the mind and remind you of Northern Irish women’s courage in the face of adversity. Amanda Binnie, last year’s Belfast Telegraph Inspirational Woman of the Year and a war widow at the age of 23, illustrates the quality of this category.

She had only been married seven months when her husband, acting sergeant Sean Binnie, was killed in May 2009 in Afghanistan.

Just as her husband displayed immense courage under fire, and was assisting colleagues under attack when he was killed, so Amanda’s strength and dignity touched people across the province. At last year’s awards at the Ramada Hotel, she said: “I’m proud to receive this award and know Sean would have been proud of me.”

She now devotes her time to charity, including the Help for Heroes campaign.

BT Sportswoman of the Year

In the sporting arena, local women have frequently led the field, from the moment Mary Peters won Olympic gold in the pentathlon in 1972 to the present day.

Last year’s winner of the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in Sport was junior doctor Caroline O’Hanlon, who not only has a busy medical career but also finds time to excel in netball and women’s Gaelic football.

Receiving her award, she said: “I’m absolutely delighted, but I just can’t believe it.”

The modesty is impressive, but Caroline’s track record as the star player when Northern Ireland claimed the prestigious Nations Cup in Singapore in 2010 and elsewhere makes her win entirely fitting.

Nominate your choice for Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year

Following the success of last year’s awards, we are asking you once again to nominate outstanding women you know in each of our nine categories.

We want to hear about women who have made a difference in your life or the lives of others. Nominations may be made by anyone who knows an individual they believe is worthy of an award.

For each category, the nominee should have been in her line of work for at least 12 months and have shown particular success, a demonstrable measure of achievement, how she inspired others around her and how she has demonstrated passion, drive and energy in what she does.

  • Each category winner will be presented with a beautiful Belleek Living trophy at a gala dinner at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Shaws Bridge, Belfast, on Thursday, December 8.
  • You may enter nominations in any or all of the nine categories. The overall award for Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in association with Dixons, Coleraine, will be chosen by the judges from the winners of the nine categories. Each of the nominations must be supported by a citation which should not be more than 200 words.
  • Citations should also include your name address and daytime telephone number and should arrive not later than 12 noon on Monday, November 21. Send them to: BT Woman of the Year, Belfast Telegraph, 124 Royal Avenue, Belfast, BT1 1EB or by email to: womanoftheyear@belfasttelegraph.co.uk.

Business Woman of the Year sponsored by Translink

She can be any woman in the business field who has shown determination, drive and has made a real difference in her working environment.

Woman of the Year in the Fashion Industry sponsored by Menarys

Sassy, vibrant and ‘in touch’ with real women’s needs, the Woman of the Year in the Fashion Industry has to have a real sense of style and an eye for that X factor.

Mum of the Year sponsored by Irwin’s Bakery

Mum of the Year is a woman who is an outstanding mother, leader and role model.

Woman of the Year in the Arts sponsored by Belleek Living

This can be any woman in the performing arts, music, the written word or visual medium, whether it’s behind the scenes or in public a woman who has truly maximised her talents.

Woman of the Year in Education sponsored by Queen’s University

Whether this is a teacher, classroom assistant, dinner lady or caretaker, we are looking for someone working in education who has gone that extra mile for children, teenagers or students and their education.

Woman of the Year in Healthcare sponsored by NeoStrata

She can be any woman working in any area of the health sector as a nurse, doctor, medical technician or any of the many roles across this sector.

Woman of the Year in the Voluntary Sector sponsored by the Irish League of Credit Unions

Working in the Voluntary sector, this woman could be a carer, a fundraiser, or simply someone who sacrifices their time for others.

Inspirational Woman of the Year

The Inspirational Woman of the Year will be someone who has inspired others with that extra special achievement: whether it be overcoming illness or difficulties or devoting their time to a worthy charity. Whether it’s behind the scenes or in the public eye, this person should be an inspiration in terms of her attitude, work and life.

Sportswoman of the Year

This award sets out to recognise a keen sportswoman who has either achieved much herself or has successfully inspired others in sport.

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Beware of spending beyond your means. Sticking to a budget will help you survive the festive season relatively unscathed. It will be easier than you think to let your grip on the purse strings slip especially as the big day draws near. Let Christmas be about loving, sharing and giving. Spend quality time preparing food, making decorations and playing games together. If you haven't sent all your cards or round robin emails give some thought about what you will be sharing with others this year.More