Wednesday 22 January 2020

Mother who lost son at Hillsborough wins Women of the Year Special Award

Margaret Aspinall is chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group
Margaret Aspinall is chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group

A mother who lost her son in the Hillsborough disaster has won the Women of the Year Special Award on behalf of the families affected by the 1989 tragedy.

Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, whose son James died in the disaster, was presented with the award by Theresa May in recognition of the families' persistent search for truth and justice.

The Prime Minister said she was "honoured" to give the award at the ceremony on Monday afternoon in London, adding: "Having lost their loved ones in the most appalling circumstances, they then spent 27 years searching for the truth with extraordinary dignity.

"This April, when the fresh inquests delivered their conclusions, they made clear to the whole nation what the Hillsborough families have known to be true from the beginning - that the fans were blameless."

Mrs May continued: "Thanks to their resolve we now know the truth about what happened that day. This award is for all those who lost their lives at Hillsborough and their families who have shown immense courage and determination."

More than 400 women attended the lunch and awards, where six were recognised for their "courage, resourcefulness, flair and for their selfless actions".

Lizzie Jones, who has campaigned for all rugby league division players to have heart screening following the death of her husband from an undiagnosed heart condition, was presented with ITV's Lorraine Inspirational Woman of the Year Award.

The mother of two from Halifax, West Yorkshire, set up the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund in her husband's name following his sudden death in 2015. Mr Jones collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest while playing rugby, leaving behind his wife and five-month-old twins.

She was nominated for the award by her friend Laura Simeunovich, who said: "Lizzie is inspirational. Whilst dealing with her own grief and raising her children alone, she is making sure other people are safe, and is trying to save families going through what she has.

"Danny would be exceptionally proud of his wife. She is a fantastic role model for her children, and they will grow up knowing that their mummy is saving lives in their daddy's name."

The Good Housekeeping Women of the Year Award went to Liz Clegg, who has volunteered to help women and children living in the Calais Jungle, while Seema Aziz, who founded the Care Foundation of schools in Pakistan, won the Barclays Women of the Year Award.

Marjorie Wallace was presented with the Prudential Women of the Year Award for her work campaigning for the availability of mental health services in the UK for the past 30 years, and Dame Fanny Waterman received the DFS Women of the Year Award - Lifetime Achievement.

Dame Fanny, who founded the Leeds International Piano Competition, was recognised for her "extraordinary contribution" to music.

Sandi Toksvig, president of Women of the Year, said: "For over 60 years, Women of the Year has proudly recognised and celebrated the achievements of some of the world's most incredible women.

"These women range from the super famous to unsung heroines who are the backbones of charities, industries and indeed every profession possible.

"The remarkable women who make up the attendees and winners at this year's Lunch are being recognised for their work making the world a better place."

PA Media

Also in this section