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‘This is for all women’ – Winners crowned at IMAGE Women of the Year Awards, in partnership with Tesco finest*

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by Eva Hall
11th Dec 2019
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A room full of inspirational women had us all on our feet at the inaugural IMAGE Women of the Year Awards, in partnership with Tesco finest* on Tuesday, where we celebrated the everyday heroes who make a difference. 


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There was a standing ovation at the Westbury Hotel in Dublin on Tuesday when Caitriona Twomey was awarded the Special Recognition award at the inaugural IMAGE Women of the Year Awards, in partnership with Tesco finest*.

Caitriona, who is the coordinator of Penny Dinners in Cork, as well as the High Hopes choir, said her award was for “all women” as she humbly accepted her prize.

The powerhouse volunteer has been involved with the charity since she was a child, following in the footsteps of her soldier father Tom Lynch, who cooked for the elderly and vulnerable of Cork every Christmas Day, much to the dismay of his young children at the time.

Speaking to image.ie at the awards on Tuesday, Caitriona said: “Growing up, my dad used to go missing every Christmas Day, and my siblings and I weren’t allowed to eat our selection boxes until he came home.

Caitriona Twomey accepting her Special Recognition award at the IMAGE Women of the Year Awards, in partnership with Tesco finest*. Photo: Richie Stokes

“We weren’t worried about our toys or our dinner, we were only worried about our selection boxes. We wrote him a letter saying, ‘Dad we’re neglected, you’re the worst dad in the world.’

“The following Christmas he got me out of the bed at 4 o’clock in the morning and said ‘you’re coming with me’.” Caitriona’s father brought her to help peel vegetables and serve Christmas dinners to the elderly and vulnerable people of Cork, who were collected from their homes by soldiers in the Irish Army. “He let me figure it out for myself,” she said, and Caitriona’s relationship with Penny Dinners, is history.

Speaking of her win, she said, “It means the world, because it means the work we do at Penny Dinners is recognised by people, and it’s recognised as good hard work.

“We put our hearts and souls into it, and it was just lovely to be nominated – to actually win is incredible.

“I realised that this is for all women, women need something like this. It’s known that we look after each other through thick and thin.

“I believe the women that use our service, they are the finest women. They’re warriors, they’re survivors, they do what they have to do to get through difficult times and I believe that this award is for them.”

Caitriona was joined by a room full of warrior women, all of whom were put forward for Women of the Year from a loved one whose life wouldn’t be the same without these women’s selfless acts.

IMAGE, a longtime champion of women and female causes, wanted to recognise everyday heroes who selflessly put others before themselves.

As host Miriam O’Callaghan said on the day, “every nominee here today is worthy of an award”. Judged by James Kavanagh, Georgie Crawford and IMAGE group editor-in-chief Lizzie Gore-Grimes, five incredible women were recognised across five worthy categories.

The full winners’ list is:

Community Spirit
Liz Webster – High Hopes Helping the Homeless 

Liz has been cooking and delivering food from her own kitchen to the homeless in Dublin’s North Earl Street every Wednesday for the last five years. After losing her son Darren to drugs, Liz felt it was time “to give back”, and began the food run to help those in similar circumstances to her late son. As well as her signature lasagne dish, Liz donates clothes, nappies and toys to those in need.

Liz Webster, Community Spirit award winner with IMAGE Women of the Year Awards judge James Kavanagh. Photo: Richie Stokes

Fundraiser of the Year
Lexie Delaney – 11-year-old Volunteer

Compelled to help the homeless ever since she witnessed a teenage boy asking for money on Grafton Street when she was just seven-years-old, little Lexie has raised thousands for Inner City Helping the Homeless, as well as set up toy collections at her primary school in Edenderry, Co Offaly.

Lexie Delaney, winner of Fundraiser of the Year at the IMAGE Women of the Year Awards, in partnership with Tesco finest*, pictured with judge Lizzie Gore-Grimes. Photo: Richie Stokes 

Carer of the Year
Jean Piper – Mum-of-Six

As well as her full-time job as a psychiatric nurse, Jean is a mum to six children, ranging in ages from 25, 13, 12, 10 and twins aged nine, and a grandmother-of-two. Two of her children have special needs, and one of her grandchildren has non-verbal autism.

Jean Piper, with Georgie Crawford, who presented her with the Carer of the Year award at the IMAGE Women of the Year Awards, in partnership with Tesco finest*. Photo: Richie Stokes

Courage
Aoife McGivney – Nurse

Hero nurse Aoife’s quick-thinking saved a bus driver’s life when he suffered a heart attack at the wheel. Aoife managed to stop the bus, and perform CPR on the driver. She is now an ambassador for CPR training in communities across Ireland.

Courage award winner Aoife McGivney with IMAGE CEO Clodagh Edwards at the IMAGE Tesco Women of the Year Awards, in partnership with Tesco finest*. Photo: Richie Stokes

Special Recognition
Caitriona Twomey  – Coordinator of Penny Dinners

Caitriona heads up Penny Dinners, which feeds, educates and houses the homeless and vulnerable in Cork.

Special Recognition award winner Caitriona Twomey with IMAGE Women of the Year Awards, in partnership with Tesco finest*, host Miriam O’Callaghan. Photo: Richie Stokes

For more on the IMAGE Women of the Year Awards, in partnership with Tesco finest*, pick up the January issue of IMAGE Magazine, on shelves soon.