Help us choose the 100 most inspiring women in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 23:48 31 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:55 01 June 2019

Sarah Perry Photo: Jamie Drew

Sarah Perry Photo: Jamie Drew

James Drew 2016

Now’s your chance to nominate the Norfolk woman you most admire as we build our list of Norfolk’s 100 most inspiring women

Liz Truss: Photo: PA / Victoria JonesLiz Truss: Photo: PA / Victoria Jones

Today, we launch a quest: To find, with your help, the Norfolk women making a great and positive contribution to our lives.

We want to honour the numerous inspirational women living and working in the county today, who deserve to be recognised for their successes and the leadership and inspiration that they provide for others.

In partnership with our fabulous sponsors BDO, Norwich High School for Girls, Adnams, Birketts and Spire, we're putting together a list of 100 Inspirational Norfolk Women and inviting you, our readers, to nominate your own choices by writing up to 100 words explaining how and why they inspire you.

The names will go before a panel which will choose the final list and then the 100 women will be invited to a special event on October 10 at Brasteds.

Anwen Hurt Photo: Andi SpaceyAnwen Hurt Photo: Andi Spacey

Tickets will also go on general sale, so members of the public, family and friends can join in the celebration of local female endeavour, bravery, flair, passion, persistence and achievement.

Who should be nominated?

What makes someone inspiring to you will, of course, be subjective - but that's fine. If someone has inspired you, then that makes them worth celebrating in our book.

Davina Tanner OBE - Chief Executive of Britannia Enterprises Credit: Matt Keal/Matt Keal PhotographyDavina Tanner OBE - Chief Executive of Britannia Enterprises Credit: Matt Keal/Matt Keal Photography

We are looking for nominations from all backgrounds, sectors and environments.

Who have we thought of?

Once we announced our plan to celebrate the inspiring women of Norfolk, suggestions flooded in from staff. Here are some of the women who have been nominated so far.

Actress Olivia Colman at Gresham's School speech dayActress Olivia Colman at Gresham's School speech day

Film and TV

"The thing I like about Olivia Colman is that she is so normal - and Norfolk. She is inspiring because she has been so successful in her field but doesn't appear to have changed at all. When she won her Oscar, all she was interested in was where she would be able to get a nice cup of tea. This marks her out as a Norfolk woman through and through! I admire her greatly.

Liz Nice

Iona Lake. Picture: ANTONY KELLYIona Lake. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Also nominated: TV presenter Caroline Flack; Jess French (CBeebies presenter and nature campaigner)

Campaigners and women overcoming adversity

Alison set up a makeshift hospital for seals which turned into RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre. I also recommend Michelle Gant, housing association director turned social inclusion guru and Liz Truss - MP for South West Norfolk. Liz is a tireless campaigner for her patch, even if you don't agree with her politics! Then there's Alison Croose, chair of King's Lynn festival, Jordan Bone who fought her way back from car crash which left her in a wheelchair to become star beauty blogger and the paralympic showjumper Susi Rogers-Hartley. We really are blessed with inspiring women in Norfolk.

Juliet Harrison.

Chris Bishop

Also nominated: Angela Sykes, who led the campaign to save and revive Diss Corn Hall, Anwen, Lady Hurt, for her work fundraising for Cinema City, Holt Festival and Sheringham Little Theatre, Norfolk and Norwich nurse and campaigner Sondra Gorrick and Paula Lee, the lawyer who led the Tesco equal pay campaign last year.

Women in sport

Zoe Ward at Norwich City was appointed business and projects director within the last year, as part of a new management structure at the club. She is a great example of a woman working in football, as, of course is Delia Smith, who, of course must be on the list. 
I also find the cyclist Vicky Williamson inspiring and Sophie Wright, who made waves in October after leading the majority of European Championship road race in Glasgow. We have some great sporting women in Norfolk and it would be great to honour them.

David Freezer

Also nominated: footballer Lauren Hemp, Gorleston swimmer, Jessica-Jane Applegate and athlete Iona Lake.

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I would really like to put forward two women for this list, who have been doing amazing things for the inclusion and recognition of children with Down's syndrome. They both have 
young sons with the syndrome, and have been featured in the EDP for their celebration of Worlds Downs Syndrome day in March. Their names are Emma Taylor and Zoe Lee, and they run the Best Buddies and Their Adventures facebook page: I think they do amazing work and Emma's son Eli was born just two days after my son, so I have known her from the very beginning of her adventure and I can't think of a more deserving women to be on this list.

Judith Palmer

One in eight women will get breast cancer, which is one reason Barbara Button, 51, from Brundall, raised almost £7,000 for the charity Little Lifts, which provides comfort boxes to women in Norfolk undergoing chemotherapy for primary breast cancer. Barbara was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2016 and raised the money running this year's London Marathon as she 
knew the effects the treatment could have and the difference the Little Lift comfort boxes made to women. I nominate her.

Nick Richards

Music and the arts

I'm a huge admirer of performance artist Cosey Fanni Tutti, whom I interviewed last year. Her work has always been groundbreaking and certainly inspiring.

Steve Anglesey

Also nominated: The pop group Let's Eat Grandma (Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth from Norwich) and Annie Catwoman who founded and runs Sonic Youths programme at Norwich Arts Centre, encouraging young people to get into music. Ros Newman, the 80 year old sculptor and contemporary of Barbara Hepworth has also been nominated, as has Dawn Jackson MBE for her work setting up Future Radio. Illustrator and charity worker Alice Lee, musician Beth Orton and lyricist Cathy Dennis.

Writers and vloggers

We have some fantastic female authors in Norfolk from Rose Tremain to Emma Healey to Eimear McBride to Sarah Perry. We also have some fantastic vloggers like Tanya Burr who is watched by millions, fashion blogger Helen Anderson and the Pixiewoos as well, (Sam Chapman and Nicola Haste) who run the Pixiewoo YouTube make up channel. But there are so many fantastic Norfolk women to choose from. I look forward to hearing from our readers as to whom they would like to honour.

David Powles, editor.

Also nominated: Raffaella Barker, novelist and campaigner for the Coasthopper bus service.

Women in business

Birdcage and Sir Garnet owner Lauren Gregory has been nominated, as have chief executive of Jarrold Minnie Moll, Cultureworks East founder, Elli Chapman, Davina Tanner, chief executive of Britannia Enterprises, particularly for her inspiring approach to the rehabilitation of offenders and jewellery boss, Lisa Angel. Hayley Johnson, COO of Epos Now is also on the list.

Women in education

Corrine Peasgood, principal of City College has been nominated, along with paramedic science lecturer at UEA, Juliet Harrison, who last year won the Student's Union's Most Inspiring Lecturer award, Dame Rachel De Souza, chief executive of the Inspiration Trust, Angela Robson, deputy Vice Chancellor at Norwich University of the Arts and Claire Riseborough, boss of the Step into Tech group which helps children improve their maths.

And many more

Some of the other names put forward include Anne Edwards, former editor of the Great Yarmouth Mercury, the Very Reverend Jane Hedges, the first female Dean of Norwich Cathedral, Ellen Mary for her work teaching people about the wellbeing benefits of gardening, chief executive of the Norwich-based St Edmunds Society, Lorraine Bliss and Lady Alison Townshend, for her fundraising work to restore Raynham Hall and the Raynham Recitals series which has brought internationally acclaimed musicians to west Norfolk.

This is by no means all the women who have been nominated so far so please do send your own nominations to Liz Nice at or write to Liz Nice, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE. Just tell us in around 100 words why you think they should be on the list. We look forward to hearing from you.

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