Awards for inspirational mothers

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Published: Sunday 1st March 2015 by The News Editor

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Stars from the world of entertainment and sport shared inspirational stories with everyday heroes at the Tesco Mum of the Year awards.

Heart-warming tales of selflessness and sacrifice were the order of the day at London’s Savoy Hotel, as mothers from across the country were acknowledged for their commitment to children.

Television veteran Dame Esther Rantzen picked up the celebrity mum of the year accolade, crowning a memorable few weeks in which she became a grandmother for the second time – with a third grandchild due in the coming days.

Dame Esther, who also has three grown-up children in their 30s, said: “It’s a big thrill to be given the award of celebrity mum of the year – it gives me a great deal to live up to.

“Actually this award is for my children because I think having a well-known mum can be pretty difficult. My son, on parents’ day, used to make me walk about 100 yards behind him, hopefully thinking no-one would connect us.

“Kids of celebrity mums have additional challenges, so I am taking this award on behalf of my children.”

The former That’s Life! presenter, who created ChildLine in 1986, said one of the benefits of being a grandmother meant she was able to have “chocolate cake for breakfast” with her eldest grandson.

She praised the winners for their commitment to good causes.

Radio 1 DJ Fearne Cotton, who is pregnant with her second child, said: “The whole awards attracted me because now that I’m a mum I understand how time-consuming, overwhelming and amazing being a mum can be.

“To see these women doing all these extra-curricular things for other people is extraordinary.”

Mother-of-two Jo Joyner, who plays Tanya Branning in EastEnders said: “I think it’s so important that these awards not only recognise mums but celebrate them and support them.

“Some of the women I have met at these awards over the years have been phenomenal. I met one lady and I think she looked after 70 heroin babies over her years of fostering, so she only ever did the hardcore bit for those first seven or eight weeks when the babies had been taken away.

“We’d worked out she hadn’t slept for 25 years, but equally what was lovely was her own children had nominated her. It meant to me that she had really done a phenomenal job.”

Presenter and mother-of-two Zoe Ball said: “The most important thing about being a parent is love – you’ve got to have a lot of love.

“I don’t think anyone can train you up, you can’t go to ‘mum school’, you just have to learn everything.”

Olympic gold medal winning long jumper Greg Rutherford, who became a father for the first time last year, describe parenthood as ” the greatest thing in the world”.

He said: “I love every waking moment I get to spend with my son Milo. ”

The ceremony also saw seven awards presented to mothers across the country, alongside Dame Esther.

Natasha Jones, from Brockenhurst in Hampshire, won the community award after launching a life-saving skills project called Baby Resuscitation. She has also successfully lobbied to make changes to ambulance service response protocols for babies.

Julie Cridland, from Cardiff, was named inspirational mum of the year after setting up The Leon Heart Fund six years ago in memory of her eldest son Leon, who died of a heart condition when he was 13. The charity supports children and their families, with more than £100,000 raised so far.

Louise Fetigan, from Camberley in Surrey, was given the supportive award for her work in setting up the My Daddy is a Solider Adventures group for children whose parents serve in the Army. Money raised has help provide weekends away and summer camps.

Sandra Howard, from Sheffield, was named charitable mum of the year after launching the Fable charity dedicated to people with epilepsy and their families. Ms Howard has helped raise £3 million to fund its work.

Gail O’Shea, from Essex, won the compassionate award after setting up the Wipe Away Those Tears charity, which grants wishes to seriously or terminally ill children. The charity has raised more than £1 million since its launch in 2006.

Emma Salisbury, from Welling in Kent, was named as the achieving mum of the year for her work in the research and treatment to fight incurable eye disease choroideremia. She was instrumental in bringing about the world’s first clinic trial for treatment.

Kate Geeson, from Mildenhall in Suffolk, was handed the enterprising award for her social enterprise charity Phoenix Trust Milton which offers work experience and qualifications to young people and adults with learning disabilities. Since 2006, the charity has helped around 600 people.

Published: Sunday 1st March 2015 by The News Editor

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