Cathy Goldsmith, who has saved six lives, named Northampton's most inspirational woman
All five women shortlisted for Northampton's Inspirational Woman Award each deserved it in their own right for the hard work they do in our community.
But the very worthy winner at this year's event - hosted at the Guildhall on Saturday (March 9) as part of International Women's Day - was won by Cathy Goldsmith who is an unpaid community first responder, helping people suffering medical emergencies nearby until an ambulance arrives.
She said: "Being nominated for this award is an enormous honour, and to be honest I am overwhelmed that someone would think [I'm] worthy.
"I do what I do because I am passionate about caring for people, and not for any form of reward or recognition.
"I was nominated by one of my colleagues from the South Northants Community Responders, Simon Crossley. I remember mentoring him when he first started out as a responder and he is a shining example, of professionalism and compassion in his own right."
Cathy has volunteered more than 500 hours responding to emergency medical 999 calls in support of East Midlands Ambulance Service, saving numerous lives, including people who were having cardiac arrests.
Cathy loves to teach and mentor the new members and has mentored about 40 new responders in the scheme over the past six years.
She has racked up more than 5,000 hours as a volunteer while holding down a full-time job.
"I became a responder initially because I thought it was an amazing privilege to be able to assist someone in their hour of need," Cathy said. "And It was a possibility that I could help save someone’s life.
Cathy has attended around 15 cardiac arrests and been a part in the team that has helped to bring the person back to life in six cases.
She added: "To help others to learn how to do CPR is also one of my roles, and if anyone I have taught can save a life, I have done my job."
The five inspirational women were shortlisted during the judging process, after they were nominated for the difference they each make in their community - by providing support, by volunteering and by being great role models to others.
Georgina Shaw regularly volunteers with the Hope Centre, despite her own ill health. In addition, Georgina looks after and home-schools her two children, both with care needs of their own.
Georgina said: "To be honest, I still feel overwhelmed to have been nominated. I have always struggled with my self-confidence so to be nominated for such a wonderful award was amazing but yes, overwhelming for me. Both my husband and mum nominated me. It is lovely to know that they are proud of me and what I do."
Georgina has fibromyalgia and is in constant pain but still wants to go out and help others. She added: "I love to help people and will do anything I can to do so, often to the detriment of my health, but I still believe it's worth it.
"I have always been charitable but found myself especially drawn to charities for homelessness after speaking to a rough sleeper one day.
"Hearing his story made me realise how easy it is for people to lose their way and find themselves in a desperate position. From then on I have been passionate about homelessness and love volunteering with The Hope Centre, as well as the Winter Shelter and 100 Ladles on Abington Street."
Rachel Mallows, who was recently awarded an MBE for her work as the Chair of Trustees for two charities and Patron of another. Rachel is also Deputy Lieutenant and a business woman, whose interests centre around improving others’ lives.
She was nominated for her work with three charities - Service Six (children and young people), the Daylight Centre Fellowship (food support) and Faraway Children’s Charity (children and families).
She said: "It feels amazing and humbling to be nominated and I am especially proud to have been named as a finalist.
"My role is insignificant in relation to the daily work that many women do to help one another and to find solutions to some of life’s challenges and circumstances outside of their control.
"Like many people I was brought up believing that life is more about what we can do for others than what we achieve for ourselves, so this nomination has really brought a smile to my face."
Lorraine Lewis was nominated too. She is the co-founder of the Lewis Foundation with her husband - a charity they set up in April 2016 after her husband’s mum fought cancer for four years. Whilst working full time, Lorraine spends the majority of her free time giving out free gift packs to cancer patients in six hospitals in our region.
Daphne Robinson is an 81-year-old who has been volunteering with Age UK since 2006. Daphne is truly committed to her role as a volunteer and a real inspiration to those around her.