Woman Of The Year 2014: Una Crudden’s got fighting spirit

Overall Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year winner Una Crudden
Overall Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year winner Una Crudden
Overall Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year winner Una Crudden
Deputy Editor Gail Walker addresses the Woman of the Year gala dinner
Guests listen as Deputy Editor Gail Walker opens the proceedings
Overall Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year winner Una Crudden with her daughter Lisa McGarry
Overall Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year winner: Una Crudden with her husband Felix
Overall Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year winner: Una Crudden (second from right) with sponsor Siobhan McKeown and Chris Nelmes from The OUTLET and Belfast Telegraph editor Mike Gilson
Inspirational Woman of the Year Margaret McGuckin
Inspirational Woman of the Year Margaret McGuckin, centre, with Gemma Bell, Diageo, and Wendy Austin, left
Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in Hair, Beauty and Fashion. Winner: Leisa Stafford (left)
Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in Education. Winner: Mary Roulston (left)
Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in the Voluntary Sector. Winner: Rachel Smith (centre)
Belfast Telegraph Businesswoman of the Year winner: Claire Hunter (left)
Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in the Arts. Winner: Sinead Morrissey (left)
Woman of the Year in the Health Sector. Winner: Dr Madeleine Rooney (left)
Belfast Telegraph Mum of the Year winner: Catherine McFerran (left) at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast
Belfast Telegraph Sportswoman of the Year winner: Ulster players of the Ireland Women's Rugby - Rosie Baxter, left, mother of Ashleigh Baxter collects award on behalf of the girls. Presented by: Squadron Leader Jacs Rankin, Executive Officer on 502 (Ulster) Squadron, RAF Reserves.
Richard Kane and Leona Kane at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast
Lisa and Glen McLarnon at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast
Alison and Will Abernethy at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast
Belfast Telegraph's editor Mike Gilson, Jan Jack and Siobhan McKeown at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast
Katie McKernan and Paul Stafford at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast
Diane Baxter, Rosie Baxter and Hazel Whan at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th February 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Siobhan McKeown, Sarah Weir and Karen McGarvey
Siobhan McKeown, Sarah Weir and Karen McGarvey at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast
Kate Thompson, John Miskelly and Victoria Carrigan at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast
Joanne Dobson and Chris Nelmes at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast
Kathy O'Neill and Joanne Magee at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast
Katie Richardson and Holly Anne Lowden at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast.
Joanne Uprichard, Irene Fitzsimons, Karen McGarvey, Pauline Moore and Sarah Little at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast
Cara Gribben, Emma Gribben and Sarah Gribben at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast
Cara Gribben, Maria Burke, Sharon Barrett, Emma Gribben and Sarah Gribben at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast
Elaine Waterworth, Chris Nelmes, Oonagh Haughian and Meilynn Cheung at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast
Mary and Norman Adams at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast
Alison and Will Abernethy at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast.
Noella McConnell Logue and Conor McCafferty at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast
Tracy and Joe Donnelly at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast
Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in Education winner: Mary Roulston. Presented by D Sarah Little, Commercial Director, Belfast Telegraph
Ramada Hotel staff at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast.
Gemma Bell and Karen Laverty at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast.
Shauna Ross and Francine Gormley at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast.
Violet Malcolmson and Karen Gamble at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Guests from Diageo. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Melissa McCready - Shaw and Olivia Mehaffey at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Guests from Diageo. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Eugene and Gerardine Kielt at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Guests from Diageo. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Guests from Diageo. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Inspirational, brave, accomplished and selfless — these were just some of the many special qualities of the finalists and winners who were the toast of the 2014 Belfast Telegraph Women of the Year Awards.

Belfast’s Ramada Hotel at Shaw’s Bridge once again played host to the glittering annual gala event which celebrates the very best ladies in our society.

In what was an uplifting and often emotional event, more than 300 women enjoyed a four-course meal, followed by entertainment before hearing the awe-inspiring stories of this year’s contenders.

A record number of entries this year — nearly 300 — made the job of the judges tougher than ever.

The exceptional lady who picked up the overall 2014 Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Award in association with the Outlet at Banbridge was Una Crudden.

A visibly stunned Una, who was accompanied to the dinner by husband Felix and her daughter Lisa McGarry, walked to the stage amid a standing ovation to collect her award.

The tireless campaigner, who describes herself as “just an ordinary granny from west Belfast”, immediately dedicated her award to all the women who like herself have ovarian cancer and to those who have died because they were not diagnosed in time.

Unable to control her tears as she chatted to awards host Wendy Austin, Una once again spoke passionately about the need to promote awareness of this killer disease.

She also said that she was thrilled by her award: “I’m just so shocked. Everyone in that room was a champion and I’m absolutely thrilled to get this award.”

Una (59), a mum-of-five with six grandchildren, has saved countless lives already through her actions and is hoping to save many more for generations to come by trying to persuade the Government to launch an ovarian awareness campaign.

Tragically, it’s too late for Una who now has terminal ovarian cancer but while her days are sadly numbered this amazing woman has put her heart and soul into ensuring other women will not face the same diagnosis.

This week, in what is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Una was again ensuring the issue remains at the forefront of Government, hosting the first ever awareness event at Stormont and persuading Belfast City Council to light up City Hall in the colour teal —the colour that represents the awareness month.

In total 11 winners were announced across our 10 categories, chosen from a shortlist representing women of all ages and every walk of life.

With Wendy as host, guests were entertained by stand-up comedienne Jan Jack and the Sing for Life choir which was put together by Cancer Focus Northern Ireland and the Crescent Arts Centre.

Belfast Telegraph Editor Mike Gilson said: “We enjoyed yet another remarkable night at the Women of the Year Awards.

“It is an occasion that never ceases to amaze me, with so many examples of inspirational, determined and high-achieving women.

“Congratulations to all our winners and nominees. You are in truly phenomenal company.

“Una Crudden is a worthy overall winner with her selfless determination to raise awareness of ovarian cancer when going through so much herself.”

Siobhan McKeown, marketing manager for The Outlet, Banbridge, said: “Thank you to the Belfast Telegraph for hosting such a rewarding and outstanding event.

“It is important to acknowledge the fact that ordinary women can achieve amazing results.

“The Outlet, Banbridge is proud to be associated with the Woman of the Year Awards.”

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