THIS week has been one which I have looked forward to with great anticipation as I was proud to announce the winner of Fylde Woman of the Year 2016.

This was the second year I have held this event and I received an even larger number of worthy nominations this time around.

During the awards lunch on Sunday, I was able to go around all the tables and speak to those who had been nominated and hear some of their remarkable stories.

It was a privilege to be able to bring together some of the area’s most notable charity campaigners, business leaders and community stalwarts and reminded me why I decided to launch this event in the first place.

I first came up with the idea through my everyday work as Member of Parliament for Fylde, when I was continually meeting women who were doing fantastic work in their communities, often for charitable organisations, without seeking recognition or financial gain.

Even I have been surprised at how successful the event has become and it was a pleasure to spend Sunday afternoon with the nominees and their friends and relatives, discussing their work and celebrating their achievements.

Meanwhile, this week I was pleased to see a number of organisations with Fylde links win their respective categories at the Lancashire Business View Red Rose Awards 2016.

I was delighted for Jobs, Friends & Houses, a local charity which helps ex-offenders avoid returning to a life of crime, receiving the Innovation Award for its work.

The organisation takes people who have struggled with a range of issues – including addiction, mental health problems, offending and homelessness – and gives them work, a positive support network and somewhere to live. I recently highlighted its work to the Justice Secretary in Parliament.

I was also pleased to see Trinity Hospice receive the Not-for-profit Business Award. Trinity does a brilliant job supporting a great many residents who are coming to the end of their lives and deserve to be commended.

Another Fylde business, VetPlus on Dock Road, Lytham, won the International Achievement Award and after reading in the paper this week that the company had marked two decades of success in the veterinary nutraceutical industry by celebrating record profits, it has certainly been one to remember for the team.

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