Special awards for Deborah and Sorcha

Deborah McGlinchey celebrates her win with family, friends, the judges and Derry's Mayor Brenda Stevenson.
Deborah McGlinchey celebrates her win with family, friends, the judges and Derry's Mayor Brenda Stevenson.

Cancer survivor and Bolt running club member Deborah McGlinchey has been crowned the city’s Woman of the Year at an event in the City Hotel.

The audience rose to their feet as a clearly shocked Deborah went forward to collect her award.

Women from across all sectors were honoured for the work they do across the North West last night.

There was a standing ovation for the family Derry woman Sorcha Glenn as they went forward to collect her posthumous award.

“Sorcha would have loved this,” her sister said. “She would have been very pleased. Her legacy was that she wanted to raise awareness and save lives. She has most certainly done that and we will continue to do that as long as we have breath in our bodies.”

Martina McCafferty who nominated Deborah described her as an “absolute shining light” and praised the work she does with Bolt running club in the city.

“When Deborah comes into a room it lights up,” said Martina.

“She does so much work, she is a tireless hero and I think people should know her story. She is a fantastic role model.”

In her nomination Martina said if someone asked her who she’d choose to live with her on a desert island - Deborah or David Beckham she’d choose Deborah in a heartbeat.

“Deborah is surviving cancer on a daily basis, she has taken a limitation and turned it into an opportunity.

“She has taken an opportunity and turned it into an adventure by dreaming big, not for herself but for hundreds of men and woman across the city.

“Deborah has encouraged individuals to do the impossible, exercise for the first time, or for the first time in a long time. Deborah has changed people’s mindsets and lifestyle choices about their physical and mental health and well being through the simple decision to take up running.”

Deborah thanked all her family and friends who came out to support her.

“It has been overwhelming,” she said.

Deborah explained how she was just getting back on her feet when she was struck with ill health a second time. “I could have sat down but I was driven by the fact that my friends and people I exercise with were getting on with it.”

The winners in the awards were:

Winner of Contribution to Women’s Community Development is Jackie Barr.

Winner of Contribution to Community Relations is Irene Hewitt.

Winner of Contribution to Health is Diabetes Specialist Nursing Team.

Winner of Contribution to Enterprise is Katrina Smith.

Winner of Contribution to Formal/Informal Education is Geraldine Fitzpatrick.

Winner of Contribution to the Older People is Molly Ross.

Winner of Contribution to Caring is Clare Gillespie.

Winner of Contribution to Youth is Bridie Sheridan.

Young Woman Award was presented to Sorcha Glenn’s family.

Winner of Women Living with a Disability is Roisin Doherty.

Winner of Contribution to the Trade Union Movement is Gabrielle Carton.

And to the Overall Woman of the Year - Deborah McGlinchey.