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So who are the 100 most inspiring women in Norfolk?

PUBLISHED: 09:22 28 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:22 28 September 2019

Kerri and Kathleen Parker are on our final list of 100 women because we wanted to celebrate those who overcome adversity and help others but also Norfolk mothers (Picture: Submitted)

Kerri and Kathleen Parker are on our final list of 100 women because we wanted to celebrate those who overcome adversity and help others but also Norfolk mothers (Picture: Submitted)

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Liz Nice has been collecting the names of nominations for Norfolk's most inspiring women for three months. Here's what she learned - and the reasons why we chose the 100 women that we did...

Sam Loveday HopeSam Loveday Hope

The process of choosing the most inspiring women of Norfolk has been inspiring in itself.

As soon as we put it out there that we were looking for the 100 women you most look up to in your community, we were inundated with suggestions, receiving around 500 emails and letters from readers keen to have their say.

The hard thing for the sponsors and other judges has been choosing which of the women to make the final list of 100 and, of course, it is impossible to distinguish between the women really - it's such a subjective thing and who are we to really say that one woman is more inspiring than another? To the person who nominated her, that woman would be the most inspiring of them all and there could be no argument about that!

All we can do, then, is go by the stories you sent us about the individual women and choose the ones who touched us, without knowing them at all. With our sponsors, we worked on the basis that everyone chose their 100 and then we picked those who received the most support from all the judges combined. Where there was any doubt, we looked to those who had received the most nominations from readers.

Susi Rogers Hartley. Picture: submittedSusi Rogers Hartley. Picture: submitted

My personal favourite was Kerri Parker, not because she was nominated several times by readers for her brave battle with brain cancer and her relentless fundraising, but because, after being nominated she wrote to me saying. "It means the world to be me to be nominated but there is a stronger woman behind me, my mother, Kathleen."

That, to me, is what our 100 inspiring women of Norfolk campaign has really been all about and both Kerri and Kathleen are on our final list of 100 women because we wanted to celebrate those who overcome adversity and help others but also Norfolk mothers, all of whom inspire their children by being our greatest advocate and cheerleader and who never stop fighting for us, even when we ourselves are on the point of giving up.

Another bright spot of the campaign was the number of men who wrote in to nominate the women who inspire them.

I had imagined this would be very much a womenfest - women celebrating women because, as I often say, if we don't, who else is going to?!

Emma Spagnola aka 'The Norfolk Loo Lady' Picture: SUPPLIED BY THE CANDIDATEEmma Spagnola aka 'The Norfolk Loo Lady' Picture: SUPPLIED BY THE CANDIDATE

And yet, I was contacted by husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, grandsons, work colleagues and friends - men who wanted us to take note of a woman whose achievement they admired; a woman who made them want to be better themselves.

When men are looking to women for inspiration, we know we are getting somewhere. It was life enhancing to see their admiration and pride in the women in their lives, particularly Andy Loveday, whose tender tribute to his wife Sam Loveday-Hope made us all cry!

All around us are women who inspire us, who lift our mood, give us hope for the future, or whose stories make us feel that, when our lives are on the darker side, there are others who have gone before us and somehow made it into the light.

We at the EDP feel proud of the women of Norfolk.

The Very Rev'd Jane Hedges Photo: Sonya DuncanThe Very Rev'd Jane Hedges Photo: Sonya Duncan

Mothers, wives, friends, sisters, colleagues.

You lift us up.

You are heroes, all.

The final 100 most inspiring women in Norfolk as chosen by our readers and our judging panel are:

-Steph Allen, The Training Spa

-Vickie Allen, founder, the DevelopHER awards

-Anwen, Lady Hurt, patron of the arts

-Jessica-Jane Applegate, swimmer

-Raffaella Barker, novelist

-Jayne Biggs, founder, the Heart2Heart Foundation

-Aphra Birley, musician

-Lorraine Bliss MBE, CEO St Edmunds Society

-Sharon Blundell, councillor

-Julie Bremner, chair, Norwich Pride

-Ros Brown and Liz Edwards, Norfolk Community Law Service

-Sue Buffin, director, New-U store, Norwich

-Sarah Cannell, artist

-Sam Chapman and Nicola Haste, Pixiwoo Make Up Channel

-Sarah de Chair Chair, Proudly Norfolk Food and Drink

-Rebecca 'Chip' Chipperfield, Norwich Soup Movement

-Robina Churchyard, carer and fund-raiser

-Tracy Clark, endurance swimmer

-Hilary Cox MBE, councillor
-Tonia Dawson OBE, Macmillan clinical lead

-Helen Dolphin, MBE, disability rights campaigner

-Claire Domoney, MBE, head of metabolic biology, John Innes centre

-Heather Edwards, founder, Come Singing

-Jan Edye, Breastfeeding Norfolk

-Lucy Farrant, director of the Young Norfolk Arts Trust

-Rebecca Fisher, The Coastal Mummy

-Laura Fox Newby, COO, Thyngs

-Jess French, TV presenter, author and nature campaigner

-Paige George, legal executive

-Sondra Gorrick, specialist nurse and campaigner

-Emily Groves, founder and executive chair, Indigo Swan

-Lucy Grubb, musician

-Oa Hackett, founder of littlelifts

-Linda Harper, Open Christmas

-Emma Harwood and Hayley Room, teachers

-Emma Healey, author

-The Very Reverend Jane Hedges, Dean of Norwich

-Rosie Laura Hodgson, wheelchair footballer

-Julia Holland, photographer

-Rachael Hutchinson, surgeon and CEO, Able2B

-Sara-Jane Inglis, MD and head coach, Norfolk Academy of Gymnastics

-Helen Ivory, poet

You may also want to watch:

-Dawn Jackson MBE, Future Projects founder

-Hayley Johnson, COO, Pickr

-Nichola Johnson, arts advocate

-Emily Jupp, shoe designer

-Katrina Kelly, life connector

-Karen Knight, managing director, NorseCare

-Iona Lake, athlete

-Claire Laurence-Couzens, founder, One Voice Glee

-Paula Lee, employment lawyer

-Professor Corrine Le Quere, climate change expert

-Helen Lewis, director of research and innovation division at UEA

-Sam Loveday-Hope, mentor and music teacher

-Sarah McPherson MD, Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing

-Kirsty Von Malaisé, headteacher, Norwich High School for Schools

-Fiona Manders, Blackhearts and Barbells gym owner, fundraiser, fitness instructor

-Cathie Martin, plant scientist at the John Innes Centre

-Ellen Mary, gardener

-Eve Mathews, president of Egg Box Publishing at UEA

-Jenny Mayne, carer

-Helen McDermott, telly legend

-Tarnia Mears, roller skater, Norfolk Brawds

-Hollie Middleton, owner, Spring Clean Commercial Ltd

-Minnie Moll, chief executive retail at Jarrold

-Anna Mudeka, founder, the Mudeka Foundation

-Kimberly Myhill, mental health advocate

-Ros Newman, sculptor

-Charlotte Parish, founder, the Wherry Friends Association

-Kerri Parker owner, Kerri Parker Academy & fundraiser for brain tumour research

-Kathleen Parker, mum and 'rock' to Kerri Parker

-Corrienne Peasgood, Norwich City College principal

-Sarah Perry, author

-Megan Reeves, dancer and dance teacher

-Sharon Reynolds, Benjamin Foundation, support worker

-Josephine Reynolds, firefighter

-Claire Riseborough, founder, Step into Tech

-Andrea Rippon, parent and youth educator

-Chrissi Rix, style consultant

-Susi Rogers-Harley, para-showjumper

-Fiona Ryder, President, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

-Elaine Sassoon, plastic surgeon

-Virginia Seldon, housemistress, Gresham's School
-Hayley Smith, Miscarriage Association fundraiser

-Leigh Smith, Beatrice Octavia Iris Smith Brighter Future Fund

-Emma Spagnola, The Norfolk Loo Lady

-Sarah Stock, MD, Independence Matters

-Melanie Sturman, Thetford ParkRun founder

-Emma Taylor and Zoe Lee, Down's Syndrome awareness

-Megan Thrift, Coordinator, Young Norfolk Arts comms team

-Rose Tremain, author

-Liz Truss, MP

-Tina Vallance, Tina Vallance, founder, Jaya Dance

-Stella Vine, artist

-Helen Walsham, COO and deputy chief executive, Flagship Group

-Julia Webb, poet

-Hannah Woodhall, librarian

-Sue Wharton Weaver, fundraiser, Hemsby lifeboat

-Vicky Williamson, cyclist

-Rebecca White, founder and CEO of Social Enterprise Your Own Place (YOP)

* The 100 most inspiring women of Norfolk were chosen by our panel of experts and our lovely sponsors, Norwich High School for Girls, BDO, Adnams, Birketts and Spire Norwich Hospital.

The women chosen have been invited to a special dinner at Brasteds on October 10 to celebrate their achievements and the contribution they make to Norfolk life.

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