Olympic and Paralympic medallists among winners at Women of the Year awards

Doreen Lawrence, author PD James, women's rights activist Zainab Salbi and singer Kate Woolveridge were the four other winners of the Women Of The Year awards.

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The Independent Online

Team GB's female Olympic and Paralympic medallists were today collectively among the winners of the Women of the Year Awards today.

Rebecca Adlington, Beth Tweddle, Christine Ohuruogu and Sarah Storey were among the Olympic representatives at the glitzy awards ceremony at a hotel in London's exclusive Park Lane.

Five awards are presented to women "who have proved an inspiration to others through their courage, selflessness, dedication and achievement".

The other four winners included Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, author PD James, women's rights activist Zainab Salbi and singer Kate Woolveridge.

Katherine Grainger, who won gold in the Olympic rowing double sculls, said: "The slogan 'inspire a generation' was about kids. In all honesty, it's inspired every generation.

"I've met people all ages, all different backgrounds, all over the country, everyone's been inspired, touched, moved motivated and there's people doing things they would never have thought of before."

Lindsay Nicholson, editorial director of Good Housekeeping magazine, who presented their Women Of The Year award to Great Britain's summer medallists, said the athletes showed young women there was more to aspire to than being “size zero”.

She said: “London 2012 was, undeniably, the women's Olympics.

“Our incredible Olympians and Paralympians broke new records and won more medals than ever before. But, for me, most importantly they sent out a message to all young women that there is so much more to aspire to physically than being size zero.”

Baroness Kennedy QC, president of the Women of the Year awards, said: “The magic of this event and what makes it unique is the way in which it brings together the most fabulous women from the widest range of geographical, social, ethnic and political backgrounds - from the very well-known to unsung heroines doing outstanding work in their community.”

Ms Lawrence has campaigned for justice, victims of crime and police reform ever since her son Stephen was murdered in a racist attack in 1993. Two men were finally convicted and jailed for life for his murder in January.

Ms Lawrence was presented her award by pop star Beverley Knight.

Ms Knight said: “It is a joy to present such a quietly courageous, determined and humble woman, as Doreen certainly is, with an award.

“I have admired her for years, the grace with which she has dealt with injustice after cruel injustice on both sides of the law to eventually see some resolution. She is the embodiment of the saying 'never give up'.”

Clare Blampied, managing director of Sacla UK, presented best-selling crime writer PD James with her award.

She said: “Lady James is an inspirational winner for Sacla, loved by generations for her wonderful books written over the past 50 years and for her amazing energy, passion and enthusiasm for everything she tackles. Her impressive career is motivating, if a little daunting for us all.”

The only award decided by public vote, the Inspirational Woman Of The Year award, was won by Kate Woolveridge after a poll of viewers of ITV's Lorraine.

The mezzo soprano singer was recognised for her tireless work to promote awareness of Alzheimer's disease and dementia in Cardiff through her work with the Forget Me Nots choir.

Zainab Salbi, the Iraqi-American activist, author and co-founder of Women for Women International, won the Barclays Women Of The Year Award.