The chair of Jersey’s WI wins inspirational woman award

Winner Joy Thompson Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (38506156)

THE chair of Jersey’s Women’s Institutes yesterday received the 25th Inspirational Woman of the Year Award for her decades of charity work in the Island.

Joy Thomson was presented with the Soroptimists International Jersey’s award at an afternoon tea in the marquee at Government House.

More than 100 people were in attendance, and guests included the Lieutenant-Governor, Vice-Admiral Jerry Kyd, his wife, Dr Karen Kyd, and the president of Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland, Ruth Healey.

The other two finalists were Kate Wright, a cultural change and HR consultant, who chaired the Violence Against Women and Girls Taskforce, and Beverley Le Cuirot, founder and director of WellBeing World and the international annual awareness event World WellBeing Week.

The award celebrates women who have overcome adversity, made a difference in the community and supported women-related activities, and former winners from its quarter-century history were also at the event.

Speaking after receiving the award, Mrs Thomson said: “I think I’m standing here under false pretences, because these two ladies have done far more than I have.

“All I have done is carried on the work of the Women’s Institute and the organisations I belong to, whereas these people have really inspired other people. I thank you very much. I don’t think I deserve it, but I’m very grateful.”

She told the JEP afterward that she was “gobsmacked”.

Mrs Thomson, a former English teacher at JCG, is federation chairman of the Island’s many Women’s Institute branches, with these groups organising speakers or demonstrations at their meetings, running courses and events, including weekly badminton, tennis and dance exercise, monthly walks, quiz nights and more.

She is also chair of the Jersey Association for Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus and vice-president of Glanville voluntary committee, and has held or still holds other charitable and community roles.

Jean-Marie Gavey, president of Soroptimist International Jersey, said there were 19 nominations, and “every single lady was an inspirational lady”, so choosing the winner was “very difficult”.

Dr Karen Kyd said in her speech: “This award really matters.

“It matters that we recognise women, it matters that we recognise what people do for their community in Jersey.

“We have met many inspirational women, all helping communities in Jersey.

“We have been humbled by what they do and we would like to thank all of you who are here today and those who can’t make it for everything that you do for the community.”

Guest speaker Kate Wright made a personal and impassioned speech about inspirational women, saying: “The guts and determination of hard-working women everywhere gives me hope.

“Every day women do extraordinary things, making a difference within the community or overcoming adversity with such grace and feminine power.”

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