SHE’S the inspirational grandmother who launched a solo crusade to help save lives from ovarian cancer — and now she’s the Belfast Telegraph’s Woman of the Year.
Belfast campaigner Una Crudden, who is terminally ill, has been honoured for her tireless work to raise greater awareness of ovarian cancer and for her continued push for the authorities to do more.
The Poleglass woman has taken her campaign to the highest levels in Northern Ireland — including to Stormont and the Public Health Agency — and has been an example to us all as she battles the disease.
Una’s passion and dedication to secure better outcomes for other women, while battling her own ill-health, is the reason the 59-year-old impressed the judging panel and was named the overall award winner at the 2014 Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with The Outlet, Banbridge.
The grandmother was one of 300 amazing women from across Northern Ireland who attended last night’s glittering event at the Ramada Plaza Shaws Bridge, hosted by broadcaster Wendy Austin.
The glamorous guests were entertained by comedienne Jan Jack and the Sing for Life community choir, which was developed by Cancer Focus Northern Ireland and The Crescent Arts Centre.
>>Don't miss our 12-page Woman of the Year supplement in next Thursday's Belfast Telegraph<<
There were 12 exceptional winners named on the night, selected from a shortlist of women from all areas of life in Northern Ireland, including the worlds of business and sport.
Catherine McFerran from Newtownabbey was named our Mum of the Year after her successful campaign in bringing about a change in the law that means carbon monoxide alarms must be fitted in any newly-built home in Northern Ireland.
Catherine’s 18-year-old son Neil and his best friend Aaron Davidson also 18, tragically died together in August 2010 from carbon monoxide poisoning at a flat in Castlerock, Co London
derry. Since her young son’s death, Catherine has campaigned tirelessly for greater awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide, setting up the Gis A Hug Foundation in an effort to prevent future tragedies.
Meanwhile, Belfast’s first poet laureate, Sinead Morrissey, was named our Woman of the Year in the Arts.
It’s been a noteworthy few months for the poet, who was also recently named the winner of the TS Eliot prize for her fifth collection, Parallax.
Last night, Belfast Telegraph editor, Mike Gilson, said: “We have enjoyed yet another remarkable night at the Woman 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 acknowledged the fact that ordinary women can achieve amazing results.
“The Outlet, Banbridge is proud to be associated with the Woman of the Year Award.”
The winners were selected from a shortlist of truly remarkable women from all areas of life in Northern Ireland:
PRESENTED BY SARAH LITTLE, COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR, BELFAST TELEGRAPH
BELFAST TELEGRAPH WOMAN OF THE YEAR IN THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR
SPONSORED BY RAMADA PLAZA, SHAW'S BRIDGE
WINNER: RACHEL SMITH
PRESENTED BY KATHLEEN LAVERY-BOULOUDA, GENERAL MANAGER OF THE RAMADA PLAZA
BELFAST TELEGRAPH SPORTSWOMAN
OF THE YEAR
SPONSORED BY THE RAF RESERVES
WINNER: ULSTER PLAYERS OF THE IRELAND WOMEN'S RUGBY TEAM. ROSIE BAXTER, ASHLEIGH BAXTER'S MOTHER, COLLECTED THE AWARD ON BEHALF OF THE GIRLS.
PRESENTED BY SQUADRON LEADER JACS RANKIN, EXECUTIVE OFFICER ON 502 (ULSTER) SQUADRON, RAF RESERVES
BELFAST TELEGRAPH WOMAN OF THE YEAR IN THE HEALTH SECTOR
SPONSORED BY LINWOODS
WINNER: DR MADELEINE ROONEY
PRESENTED BY EMMA GRIBBEN, DIGITAL MARKETING EXECUTIVE, LINWOODS
BELFAST TELEGRAPH MUM OF THE YEAR
SPONSORED BY IRWIN'S BAKERY
WINNER: CATHERINE MCFERRAN
PRESENTED BY HANNAH ROBINSON, MARKETING MANAGER, IRWIN'S BAKERY
BELFAST TELEGRAPH INSPIRATIONAL WOMAN OF THE YEAR
SPONSORED BY BAILEY'S CHOCOLAT LUXE
TWO WINNERS: MARGARET MCGUCKIN & UNA CRUDDEN
PRESENTED BY GEMMA BELL, DIAGEO, ON BEHALF OF BAILEYS CHOCOLAT LUXE
BELFAST TELEGRAPH BUSINESSWOMAN OF THE YEAR
SPONSORED BY THE OUTLET
WINNER: CLAIRE HUNTER
PRESENTED BY PAULINE TIPPING, RETAIL OPERATIONS MANAGER, THE OUTLET
BELFAST TELEGRAPH WOMAN OF THE YEAR IN HAIR, BEAUTY & FASHION
SPONSORED BY THE SPA AT ROE PARK
WINNER: LEISA STAFFORD
PRESENTED BY KAREN MCGARVEY, BELFAST TELEGRAPH, ON BEHALF OF CATEGORY SPONSORS THE SPA AT ROE PARK
BELFAST TELEGRAPH WOMAN OF THE YEAR IN THE ARTS
SPONSORED BY BELLEEK LIVING
WINNER: SINEAD MORRISSEY
PRESENTED BY RACHAEL WEIR OF INFORM COMMUNICATIONS ON BEHALF OF BELLEEK LIVING
BELFAST TELEGRAPH WOMAN OF THE YEAR IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE OUTLET
SPONSOR: SIOBHAN MCKEOWN, MARKETING MANAGER THE OUTLET AND MIKE GILSON, BELFAST TELEGRAPH EDITOR
WINNER: UNA CRUDDEN