Norfolk's 100 most inspiring women: thanks for nominating me - but don't forget my Mum!

PUBLISHED: 10:04 29 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:41 29 June 2019

Kerri and Kathleen Parker

Kerri and Kathleen Parker


Some wonderful nominations this week, including a nomination from one of the women we featured last week - for her wonderful mum..

Rebecca Chipperfield, founder of the Norwich Soup Movement 
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.Rebecca Chipperfield, founder of the Norwich Soup Movement Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Our search for Norfolk's 100 most inspiring women continues.

You are still sending your nominations and 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.

Sarah McPherson started Mini Donks in May 2017 as a social enterprise that offers visits from its miniature donkeys to care homes, schools and hospitals to relieve stress and improve wellbeing.
PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodSarah McPherson started Mini Donks in May 2017 as a social enterprise that offers visits from its miniature donkeys to care homes, schools and hospitals to relieve stress and improve wellbeing. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

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:

Linda Harper at the annual Open Christmas event for the homeless and lonely PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYLinda Harper at the annual Open Christmas event for the homeless and lonely PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Kathleen Parker


Thanks for featuring me as an inspirational woman. It means the world to me but there's a stronger woman behind me.

My mother Kathleen Parker is my rock.

Devin Smith  Photo : Steve AdamsDevin Smith Photo : Steve Adams

From day one of my diagnosis of cancer she researched tirelessly. sat through an eight hour brain surgery, then was there to pick up the pieces of the depression that followed helping me rebuild my life again.

When I became terminal one year ago, she told me to refuse treatment that would have destroyed my brain in favour for treatment found overseas which keeps me alive and healthy to today.

She manages her life and mine, everyone calls me Wonder Woman but she's a queen, so deserving of it all For what she does as a mother, a career, a friend and my number 1 cheerleader

She sees the side of my cancer that I don't show public, the meltdowns, the screaming, the depression and she's held me through it all.

Megan ReevesMegan Reeves

She witnessed my proudest moment getting my black belt recently in karate when I was very ill last December and was so proud.

She's taken me to Spain, America and Mexico to help save my life and isn't stopping anytime yet. She researches day and night for where my cure to my inoperable terminal brain cancer will be!

One day her research will help millions! Thousands come to us for advice and together we are saving lives.

Nominated by last week's nominee, Kerri Parker

Rebecca Chipperfield

Food bank founder

I would like to nominate Rebecca 'Chip' Chipperfield for her work with homeless people and low income families.

She founded the Norwich Soup Movement in 2013 which feeds queues of people each week, all the food being made from scratch from donations. She is regularly baking and cooking healthy meals to feed anyone who needs it - no questions asked.

Earlier this year she secured a storage facility in order to take non-food donations, like footwear, toiletries and pet food, to help homeless people or just those that were struggling. She now operates a 'no questions' food bank that includes cleaning products and even baby food.

Despite the long days and countless hours she invests, and the barriers put up by the council, Chip has not missed a single soup kitchen and is now branching out to help even more people. Without her and her volunteers, some of the poorest of Norwich would surely have gone under. She brings hope to people in the most desperate of situations.

Nominated by: Lauren Gwynn

You may also want to watch:

Sarah McPherson

Founder, MiniDonks

I would like to nominate Sarah McPherson, founder of Miniature Donkeys For Wellbeing.

Sarah has taken her personal experience of caring for family members with dementia and has created a social enterprise which is a wonderful idea. She has built it from nothing to an organisation which has attracted the attention of national funders such as the lottery and been recognised by the Prime Minister.

Sarah operates from her home and works tirelessly. She has recruited and trained a team of volunteers who take the donkeys to care homes, nursing homes, special schools etc (as well as private functions and events) to bring joy and happiness to those who need it.

Sarah has turned a bad family experience into something which helps and cheers others.

She's brilliant.

Nominated by Matthew Jones and Karen Gibson

Linda Harper

Open Christmas

I would like to nominate Linda Harper for this award..

Following a personal tragedy she and her husband Colin began volunteering with Open Christmas. When Rosie and Mike Hope expanded to operate in Great Yarmouth they took on the management of Norwich. Starting with around 100 guests numbers increased dramatically and there are now in excess of 500 using the service every year. For over 20 years she has worked tirelessly to provide the best possible Christmas day for the lonely or homeless, only taking a back seat the year Colin had heart surgery, and stepping back in the following year. Sadly Colin's health has deteriorated and they have had to step down. Her work is having to be shared among several people.

She is the most caring and compassionate, person I know. Lovely, patient, endlessly cheerful, diplomatic in the extreme. Despite having experienced a parent's worst nightmare, ever year she is moved to tears by someone else's pain and every year she leaves the halls exhausted, elated and vowing to do better next year. Without her energy and drive open Christmas would not have become the tremendous event it is today.

Nominated by: Tony Waring

Devin Smith


I would like to nominate my friend and talented artist Devin Smith.

Rather than simply being a fantastic photo-realist artist, Devin focuses on social issues to highlight the plight of the homeless and mentally ill. Devin has worked on a number of social initiatives, donating her work to her subjects and leading conversations at exhibitions including one she was commissioned recently for at the Theatre Royal.

Devin has appeared in a number of EDP articles. You can see more examples of her work on the link below.

She is one of the most talented, empathetic women I know and is using her skills and experience to help the most disadvantaged in our society.

Nominated by: Erin Heenan

Megan Reeves

Dancer and dance teacher

I've been enjoying reading about all the great and inspiring women we have in Norfolk. I had to nominate Megan Reeves given how much she has achieved in her life especially given she is still a teenager.

She is an inspiration to me and many others. Megan is aged 19 and is a Latin and Ballroom dancer and teacher. After a short dance teaching apprenticeship she decided to go it alone even though she was only 18 and terrified. She took courses in beauty and set up a beauty business to fund her own dance lessons and has a third business making and selling bespoke dance jewellery. Her pupils, from aged two to over 70, all love her passion and enthusiasm. Her support and teaching has helped my recovery from depression. She partners many of her students at dance competitions across the country including Blackpool National Finals. Having negotiated planning and finance, she is about to take the big step of opening her own studio which will allow her to teach more and give opportunities for other teachers. She and her dance partner plan to compete nationally this year.

Nominated by: Mark Ahier

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

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