The brilliantly inspiring women of Norfolk - how will be pick just 100?

PUBLISHED: 14:28 12 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:16 13 July 2019

Gill Alexander

Gill Alexander


Liz Nice has received another bundle of nominations - Norfolk is certainly full of great women...

Kirsty von MalaiséKirsty von Malaisé

We're still on the hunt for Norfolk's 100 most inspiring women so please keep sending your nominations in.

It is so uplifting to see so many Norfolk women being recognised by their communities.

If you would like to nominate somebody, please write to, including a photograph of your nominee and 100 words to explain why your are nominating her.

A panel of experts and our sponsors, Norwich High School for Girls, BDO, Adnams, Birketts and Spire, will meet in August to pick the final 100.

Bethan SmithBethan Smith

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

The closing date for nominations will be July 31.

This week's nominations are..

Jenny BurrellJenny Burrell

Gill Alexander, FRSA

Artist, Jazz Musician and Educator

I have known Gill since 1981 and am a member of one of her adult groups, The Fairly Big Band.

Gill attended Chelsea Art School for five years and became a professional artist, exhibiting as Gill Levin, and a member of the Waveney Art Trail.

Claire Riseborough, Picture: Claire RiseboroughClaire Riseborough, Picture: Claire Riseborough

As a professional jazz musician, Gill has also pioneered the promotion of jazz, and jazz education in the Waveney Valley for nearly 40 years, initiating local interest in the genre.

Gill has been tirelessly involved in jazz education for over 65 years and has continued her work in Norfolk for the past 38. Since she moved to Norfolk in 1981, she has formed children's, youth and adult jazz ensembles and choirs, and has taught music and improvisation to students of all ages.

In particular, Gill has built young musicians' confidence, by participation in regular jazz ensembles. Several have gone to music college, and professional careers in music.

At art school, Gill became a founder member of the Temperance Seven, playing banjo, and alto saxophone, clarinet and flugelhorn.

Michelle Jermy (left) at the Charles Burrell Centre in Thetford with Marilyn Cole and Emma O'Doherty.Michelle Jermy (left) at the Charles Burrell Centre in Thetford with Marilyn Cole and Emma O'Doherty.

During the 1960s, she bought her double bass, and this has been her main instrument ever since, playing professionally with bands until the present day.

In June 2019, Gill celebrated 35 continuous years of organising concerts and workshops for local jazz fans. She continues to brings internationally known musicians to play in the heart of rural Norfolk.

Nominated by John Hill

Kirsty von Malaisé

Head teacher, Norwich High School for Girls

As the former Head Girl of Norwich High School for Girls I would love to nominate Mrs Kirsty von Malaisé. She has done amazing work with the school promoting the Inspiring Females programme, which empowers and inspires girls through various events, bringing together leading women in their fields to encourage girls from various schools to follow their dreams. In the school environment itself, she is such a welcoming and calming presence. She never fails to come to a performance or to show her support for the sports teams, for example, making each girl feel truly valued. She encourages us all to try our hardest in everything we do and creates an environment in which everyone can be themselves and take part in whatever interests them as an individual. She has been such an incredible headteacher and has made not just my time at the school, but everyone's time here, incredibly enjoyable!

Nominated by: Lottie Gibson

Bethan Smith

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RAD Ballet teacher

Following her career as a professional dancer with Slovak National Ballet , Bethan established her dance school in Docking in October 2018.Access to dance lessons is limited in rural areas but the classes run in the village hall at the heart of the community. The school has grown rapidly with additional classes and a show in June. Bethan inspires pupils of all ages and abilities with confidence and the enjoyment of performing. She is inclusive of pupils with specific needs and all backgrounds. The dance school is a local asset and has the support of the Village Hall Committee.

Nominated by her adult ballet and tap class Nicola Smith, Anna Westaway, Stephanie Ireson, Jennifer Shah

Jenny Burrell

Star volunteers

I haven't seen Jenny since we left school in 1995 but I follow her on social media and she amazes me. She works tirelessly for charity, running Star Volunteers, a company who help orphanages in Morocco, she crochets and sells her work to raise money for charity and goes above and beyond to help others. She supported friends through leukaemia treatment for their son and helped raise money. Jenny has had her own health issues but continues to help other people. She just inspires me with her outlook on life and her selflessness.

Nominated by: Kate Roe

Claire Riseborough

Step into Tech

Step into Tech is a Community Interest Company (CIC) by a parent whose son showed from an early age an aptitude in coding and related tech subjects. This parent was concerned by the lack of support and resources to encourage children who are hungry to learn about tech and Step into Tech was set up to support all children and young people to reach their full potential regardless of gender, income group or disadvantage. It brings together parents, educators, employers and tech specialists in a climate of collaboration rather than competition; and through its associated Saturday Young Makers Tech Club, encourages children and young people in friendly collaboration, learning and confidence building.

So who is behind this fresh approach? A technocrat? A Government initiative? One of their preferred providers? e.g. Virgin, Serco

No, it is my neighbour, and I would like to nominate Claire Riseborough, that parent and co-founder of Step into Tech,

In 2012 Claire also co-founded a campaign group called 'Childs' Eyes' which formed a strategic alliance with 'No More Page 3' to launch successful media projects focusing on the way newspapers and magazines display inappropriate content in family contexts, and showed how grass roots campaigning with few resources can engage with and change the direction of large corporations - a voice making a difference to benefit others.

Perhaps more words than specified but describes a person of many accomplishments

Nominated by: Paul Greenizan

Michelle Jermy

The Body Confidence coach

My nomination for most inspiring woman is Michelle Jermy aka The Body Confidence Coach.

Michelle Jermy has supported me and many other women for years. She started up " I am more " #see me which is a non-profit campaign supporting women with disabilities: physical, mental or quiet. This gives a safe place to talk without being judged, to support each other and not feel alone.

Michelle's work theme is healthy happiness including accepting yourself and increasing self-confidence. She is author of Pilates for Better Sex which is aimed at women. She is a former outsize model, trained fitness profession and worked therapeutically in the NHS.

Her positivity, creativity and determination is an inspiration.

Nomainted by: Lucy Grimmond

Please send your nominations to
We will try to feature them all in future editions of the EDP.

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