Dagenham woman wins title of community champion at awards ceremony celebrating East London women

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 July 2018

Lynne Northcott won the community champion award at the She Awards. Picture: Aperture Photography

Lynne Northcott won the community champion award at the She Awards. Picture: Aperture Photography

Aperture Photography

Women from all walks of life were celebrated at a prestigious awards ceremony recognising their achievements.

From raising thousands of pounds for charity to inspiring youngsters to be the best they can be, nominees gathered at the Golden Palace Banqueting Hall, in Edmonton, last week for the She Awards, which was also held to mark the centenary anniversary of women getting the vote.

Sharifa Begum, who organised the event with her husband Imdad Basit, was delighted with how the ceremony went.

“I wanted to provide a platform and space for women in the community to be recognised for their selfless work and achievements”, she said.

“Everyone has a story to share and is on their own journey.

“Sometimes one negative word can destroy a woman’s confidence.

“Just because a woman smiles on the outside doesn’t mean she is smiling on the inside.

“I have experienced this kind of negativity first hand and has taken me a long time to grow thick skin.”

One of the winners from the evening was 39-year-old Lynne Northcott, from Dagenham, who was shortlisted for the community champion prize before winning through the public vote.

In the past year, she has raised around £17,000 for water wells in Gambia in association with the charity Penny Appeal.

She also organised an afternoon tea, quiz night and a 5k run in Barking Park which all helped to raise money for her sponsorship goal for the London Marathon.

Sharifa says that Lynne is an “active figure” who has brought the community together through all of her charity work.

Lynne said: “To me, the meaning of ‘community’ is evolving.

“In the past, it was confined to geographical location or divided by social groups, class, religion or ethnicity.

“I celebrate unity.

“Thank you to all the diverse individuals who have been a part of my journey and allowed me to share theirs.”

The concept of the She Awards, which stands for Saluting, Honouring Excellence, was to recognise talent and achievements of those in east London.

It was partly funded by events company Sapphire London Group and featured speeches from inspirational women across the capital as well as a three-course meal, a comedian and mucic from popular DJ and rapper Saiqa Rehman.

Public speaker Carla Ah-Mane, who was also presented with an honorary award on the night, was just one of the speakers who delivered a presentation on the struggle women have faced for centuries and the continuous battle for equality, which many guests described as an “enlightening history lesson”.

Former contestant on BBC One’s The Apprentice Bushra Shaikh and award winning BBC journalist and founder of charity Rising Girl Emb Hashmi also spoke at the event.

But as well as celebrating women that have made great achievements in the east London area, the She Awards was an opportunity to raise money for a worthwhile cause.

From the evening, around £500 was made which will go towards the charity Action Aid, which will provide hygiene kits for disadvantaged women in third world countries.

Sharifa said: “My chosen charity was to do with period poverty, because although the event was a celebration of freedom, sadly there are some parts of the world where this isn’t the case.”

She hopes that the awards ceremony will become an annual event where more women can be celebrated and recognised for their successes.

She added: “The evening was to recognise all the unsung heroines and it gave me great satisfaction to see all of the smiles in the room.

“It’s not only just men that put men down but a lot of women put women down.

“I’ve noticed this on social media and the aim was to send a message that we should support one another and not hate when someone is doing well.”

For any more information about the ceremony, visit the She Awards Facebook page.

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