Mark Menzies MP saluted the achievements of women from across Fylde after announcing the results of his second annual Woman of the Year event.
The contest – which is organised by the Member of Parliament and Lytham businesswoman Katie Fieldhouse, in conjunction with the Lytham St Annes Express – again saw an extremely high calibre of nominees, who have all gone that extra mile for their communities.
This year’s winner – Pam Young – is renowned across Fylde for her work with disabled children and adults, which received praise from the judges.
During her working life, Pam, from St Annes, was a senior sister at Clifton Hospital and remains a driving force behind the League of Friends group.
She was a founder member of the Fylde Sharks Disability Swimming Club, has carried out many roles within the club over the years and is currently secretary.
Pam is an active fund-raiser for a number of other charitable organisations and volunteers to help many people in her community and through her church and one nominator said of her: “All this is undertaken very quietly and without any fuss - she is a wonderful lady.”
Alongside Katie Fieldhouse, judges this year were Canon Godfrey Hirst, former vicar of Lytham; Martin Evans, landlord of the Hand and dagger at Salwick and Express reporter Tony Durkin.
Mr Menzies said: “We received dozens of entries this year and the calibre of those nominated was first class.
“I was called away on the day of judging to be in Parliament for an important debate on the forthcoming EU referendum but, having reviewed the nominations, did not envy the judges the task of coming up with a winner. However, I believe in Pam they have chosen an extremely worthy recipient, whose work with disabled people has benefited many children and adults across Fylde.
“Having spoken to those who know her well I know that she has worked to help others for many years, not least through her work as a nurse at Clifton Hospital, and puts a great deal of passion into her endeavours.”
Alongside Pam, the nominees were made up of some of the area’s most notable charity campaigners, business leaders and community stalwarts - with three nominees receiving special commendations from the judges alongside the winning entry.
One of the highly commended entrants, Bev Sykes, set up the highly successful community group Just Good Friends following the death of her mother. It allows lonely people to come together and receive companionship from others. Having quickly outgrown its original base, it now meets at St Annes Palace, where Bev is a trustee, and there are plans for the organisation’s expansion to other areas.
Another of those recognised by the judges was Janet Wardell, chairman of Wrea Parish Council, who has been a magistrate for 32 years, a Sunday school teacher for 17 years and governor at Wrea Green Primary School for 11 years. A letter of nomination described as ‘reliable, very generous and kind’.
Meanwhile, the other highly commended nominee was former Age UK worker Linda Salkeld, who founded the Cameo Luncheon Club 13 years ago to combat social isolation. She works with Lancashire Air Ambulance and has been a mainstay of Fylde Food Bank since its inception.
A letter of nomination praised Linda for her ‘commitment and contribution to the Fylde community’ and described her as ‘a truly remarkable lady’.
This year’s event followed the huge success of the inaugural 2015 competition and Mr Menzies said he intends to continue celebrating the achievements of women.
He said: “I’m extremely grateful to all those who nominated someone and helped make this event such a roaring success, which we aim to hold every year. I would also like to thank the judges who gave their time to choose a winner.
“It has also been great to be able to work with the Lytham St Annes Express on this project as we have received a large number of entries through the paper and have been able to share the stories of these remarkable ladies within its pages.”
Other nominees were: Linda Beddows, Julie Birkett, Ivy Broadbent, Helen Broughton, Marion Coupe, Pam Crawford, Pat Davies, Maria Desmond, Sylvia Fosberry, Mary Harris, Beverley Harrison, Angela Jacques, Audrey Kirby, Louise McLaren, Alison Newsham, Barbara Pagett, Christine Pollitt, Cath Powell, Sue Robinson and Carol Wildon.