Award for mum who overcame adversity

A young woman triumphing over teenage pregnancy, homelessness, abusive relationships and depression to teach England football captain John Terry - it reads like the stirring plot of a Hollywood film.

A young woman triumphing over teenage pregnancy, homelessness, abusive relationships and depression to teach England football captain John Terry - it reads like the stirring plot of a Hollywood film.

Instead these are just a few of the battles Sacha Corcoran, 36, has faced in a true-life tale of triumph over adversity.

And now, having been crowned Britain's most exceptional working mother, she puts her success down to her mum, Linda Field, from Bacton.

Miss Corcoran, who now lives in Luton and was nominated for the mother@work award by her 20-year-old son, Ricky, said: "I didn't think I'd win. To be shortlisted was enough.

"When you're in the situations I was in, it was just a question of moving forward; not stopping to reflect on things or moan about it.

"The fact that Ricky nominated me means so much. I often worry that what we went through has had an adverse effect on him.

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"This has made me realise it didn't. For the first time I've looked back and thought, 'Yeah, I did ok'.

"None of it would have been possible if it wasn't for my mum. This is a big thanks to her for all she's done and to say what an inspiration she is to me."

Miss Corcoran became pregnant with Ricky when she was 16 and his father left her before he was born.

Homeless but determined not to become a statistic, she enrolled on a college course and took part-time jobs.

She said: "I had to look at what I was good at and find a job from that. I also volunteered at a playgroup so I could expand my skills while spending time with Ricky.

"We were living in a hostel at the time and sometimes I did feel like giving up. Then you realise you've got to be a good example to your children and carry on."

When an abusive relationship ended, the pair moved to London where she met a new partner.

And after several years of working hard as a cleaner, and gaining more qualifications, at the age of 26 Miss Corcoran enrolled in a university course in sports management.

But a year into the course she became pregnant, and shortly after the birth of her daughter, Saffron, her partner left and she was homeless again.

While living with two children in a bed and breakfast, struggling with post-natal depression, and holding down a part-time job, she finished her degree and became a teacher for the Football Association.

One of her more famous pupils is England football captain John Terry who, she says, "could be a bit of a pain - he clearly wanted to be out playing football rather than stuck in the classroom".

Now an apprenticeships manager for Creative and Cultural Skills, a charity dedicated to improving and encouraging young people's education opportunities, she sets up apprentice schemes across the country. "My passion and drive for this job defin-itely comes from what I went through.

"It's so important that young parents, men and women, realise that having a baby is not the end. It's simply an obstacle to get over.

"I want to help people stay in education and make it easier for them to do so. And if it means them leaving temporarily halfway through to give birth, then so be it.

"Hopefully, this award will bring hope to people in situations like me, helping them realise they can get through it and be successful."

Mrs Field said: "She amazes us. When me and her step-dad, Doug, look at what she's become and what she's been through, we just feel incredibly proud."

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