Event is set to recognise inspiring women across Waveney

Overall Star of Lowestoft and Waveney Adele Bellis. Picture: James Bass

Overall Star of Lowestoft and Waveney Adele Bellis. Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

Truly inspirational stories from four women will be shared with guests at a charity dinner.

Sinead Mackenzie will also be speaking at the event. Picture: Supplied

Sinead Mackenzie will also be speaking at the event. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Supplied

Now in its third year, Women Who Inspire is organised by president of Southwold and District Rotary, Cathy Ryan, and is sponsored by the club.

The event coincides with International Women's Day (March 8), which celebrates women's achievements throughout history and across the world.

Mrs Ryan said: 'Many women have achieved great things, but there are still those who are struggling and face great difficulties and challenges in their lives.

'Women in Rotary, through their links with the local communities and networking worldwide, can be a driving force to help support those women who are still fighting for their independence and their rights.

'Our first Women Who Inspire supper brought together women who shared stories of how they have put 'service before self' and used their passion and determination to inspire change, motivate and encourage others to succeed and to go forward to fight for their rights, justice, independence or self-worth as an equal.'

She added that this year's event promised to be equally inspiring and urged people to book early as tickets have sold out quickly in previous years.

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The speaker's at the event include a range of women who have inspiring stories to tell.

Claire Barnard is a mother-of-two who campaigns to raise the profile of Spinal Muscular Atrophy after her son Henry was diagnosed with the incurable condition at the age of 13 months.

She helped prevent the closure of Bumblebees, an Ipswich pre-school for children with movement difficulties, which Henry attends, and also helped with it's relaunch.

In 2014 Adele Bellis had acid thrown on her face by an abusive ex-boyfriend which has left her with permanent scarring.

She has said she refuses to be a victim and has gone on to speak openly in the media about domestic violence to help raise awareness for other women. She was recently awarded the EDP and Lowestoft Journal's Stars of Lowestoft and Waveney top-prize and also won an award for her outstanding bravery.

After graduating in civil engineering, Sinead Mackenzie spent five years in the army and was deployed on a tour of Iraq, working with the US Navy and Iraqi Army to reduce insurgent activity.

She now works at Carillion, a facilities management and construction services company, and has balanced her successful career with the pressures of motherhood.

Journalist Libby Purves will also be speaking at the event. As the daughter of a diplomat, she was educated at schools in Bangkok, South Africa and France and finally in Tunbridge Wells.

She achieved a fist-class English Degree at St Anne's College, Oxford and in 1971 joined the BBC as a studio manager. She went on become the first woman, and the youngest presenter, of Radio 4's Today programme.

The former chief theatre critic and main commentator for the Times is also an accomplished author of ten novels.

The event takes place on Saturday, March 5 at 6.30pm, at Halesworth Golf Club Restaurant on Bramfield Road, Halesworth.

Tickets cost £45 and all proceeds go to the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Trust and Bumblebee children's nursery. To find out more, go to: www.womenwhoinspire.co.uk.

Do you have a story about an inspiring woman? Email lowestoft.journal@archant.co.uk

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