Woman of the Year award for blind mother

A blind woman, who has achieved the highest position in local government, as well as bringing up three children was honoured at the Woman of the Year lunch yesterday.

Elaine Noad, 40, director of community services with South Ayrshire Council, said she hoped her award would encourage working women everywhere.

Among the 500 women at the awards were the ballerina Darcy Bussell and the TV presenter Jill Dando, as well as MPs and high achievers from the business world, including Nicola Horlick. The speakers included Harriet Harman and Vivienne Westwood.

There were three awards for Champions of Courage, awarded to women who have shown bravery. They were presented to Rita Restorick, whose son Stephen was shot by the IRA; Doreen Lawrence, whose son Stephen, 18, was killed in a racist attack in south London, and who has been campaigning for the conviction of his attackers, and Lisa Potts, the nursery nurse who saved children from an attacker at their school in Wolverhampton.

The awards were presented by Queen Noor of Jordan, who paid special tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales and Mother Teresa of Calcutta: "They were united by qualities that distinguish those who make a difference - formidable energy, perseverance and determination to promote awareness of all controversial issues and human needs."

Kate Watson-Smyth

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