Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Sue Ryder Woman of Achievement Awards 2011: An Emotional Evening For so Many

I was so overwhelmed to be nominated by Me, My Son & The Rocky Road for a Woman of Achievement Award earlier this year. I had no idea she had done it until I got a phone call a few weeks before. She's a sneaky friend but one that I think will be around for a long time! More about the nomination on This Post from Last Month

The Run Up To The Awards:
So after panicking about what to wear, as let's face it, we don't regularly go to black tie doo's... can you tell? so we'd worried for a good few weeks, when a friend of ours made a suggestion... She would dress Myself and Rocky Road with her stock from her vintage store in Wallingford (near Reading)... Paula from the GlitterBox in the Lamb Arcade, Wallingford, has an amazing range of Vintage and Vintage style items in her shop. She is such a lovely lady and treats every customer as though they are a friend. She creates a fantastic atmosphere in her shop that you will want to bottle up and take home. Her unique style and passion for Vintage makes every visit to the shop unique, making you want to go back again and again to see what she's found and what gems she has in this time! If you are ever in the area or live nearby go and have a gander at the treasure trove and say hello from me!... ANYWAY she decided to dress us and she did such a fantastic job considering I am 6ft and needed a floor length gown and Rocky Road has huge knockers & tiny waist! lol But she did an amazing job and we walked away satisfied with dresses, accessories and huge smiles! She even decided to come along on the night to make sure we did her proud. I seemed to have an amazing entourage wanting to join me on the night... My Dad, My Step Mum, My Sister, My Cousin (known to you all from other posts as RED), Jim from Tranzzzformations (my hynotherapist), Paula (from Glitterbox), Rocky Road, Mummy Rocky Road, Grandad Rocky Road and Grandad Rocky Roads girlfriend... Oh and The Hoff of course. The ladies organising the tables had to squeeze us all onto one table as they'd all said they wanted to be with me... Oh what it is to be popular! lol So we were all set, Bow ties at the Ready and Dresses hung up waiting to be put on... I've even had my roots done at RubyReds leaving me feeling happy and content that I was fully ready, this is new for me like I've said in my Bad Hair Day? post this week... Bring on the awards!

Let me add, even at this point I am still not feeling worthy of even the nomination let alone being in the final 3 and attending the awards. I know some amazing people including Rocky Road herself who has struggled through life just as much as me... read her blog it's new but it's amazing!... I know mums and women who have been through hell and come out the other side and are now doing more and more for everyone else and not getting the praise they deserve! There are so many amazing people that I have the privilege to know or know of, that deserve this award nomination so much more than me! I just don't feel worthy.

The Awards Ceremony:
We decided to treat this like a prom... as I'd never had one, so Red and Rocky came to mine early for a bit of a girly hair and make up session. After a fight with my hair and face all evening I some how managed to sort out my make up and hair in time to be picked up by my Dad, Step Mum & Sister.

So we were off... Nerves in tow.

We were greeted at the Hilton Hotel, I got a special Rose to demonstrate that I was a Nominee, I felt all special!! Then we met everyone else inside and we were greeted with a glass or two of wine. We had a few pics taken by Charlotte Snowden the professional photographer for the night. When everyone else was ushered in to the dining area the Nominees had to stay behind and be paraded in... I wasn't expecting that, so I started to panic a bit. I had a good chat with some of the amazing women that were nominees in different categories all looking absolutely fabulous. Feeling ever so humbled by their presence I spotted a familiar face in which I thought I knew also with a rose on... I am notoriously bad at names and faces so decided to wait for her to approach me... as this is my usual tell tale sign I do know them. After a few more pics, we were paraded in to some music, with clapping and cheering we all made our way to our tables, which were full of our excited proud loved ones... well mine was anyway. And do you know what?... It turns out I did know that girl! We had done a few fitness classes together with Mad Lizzie from GMTV and that was why she was there... She now worked for Lizzie helping teenagers on the brink of criminal lives! I knew a bit about her background from our chats before and from that minute I was hoping that she would win. 'If I win against her', I thought, 'I would feel like an even bigger fraud than I do already'. This girl has amazing passion and has been through the mill over and over and has come out the other side with a huge smile and a successful career! She is a true inspiration and I think knowing her made me feel even more humbled to be in the same category as someone who has come so far after so much.

The rest of a night was amazing with an amazing meal, a few games and some amazing stories about each of the nominee's and we learnt a lot more about the Sue Ryder organisation... My face was even flashed up on the screen over and over during the night... that was freaky! We were the second to last award to be announced... which didn't help my nerves. My table of fans were getting more and more excited... dancing away, RED & SISTER in particular. When they read out our nominee reasons I was yet again humbled to even be involved as the other Women were so worthy, and there were a lot of tears from all of us.

Sadly I didn't win... When I say sadly I wasn't sad, as Krystal (the girl I knew) had won. I really do feel the best person won on the night and I'm not just saying that. I really wasn't expecting to win and I was just lucky to be there with my family and friends and to have made them so proud to have just been there with me. Next year I will be nominating others rather than being the nominee... just so I can get dressed up again! :smileyface: ... And let's face it not everybody can say they are a Sue Ryder Young Women of Achievement Nominee... now can they!

Do you know what my favourite part of my night was though... Not the awards or the praise from others, but seeing my Dad so proud of me. I haven't really given him much to be proud of in my life and his face that night made me feel like I had suddenly taken all that and thrown it in the bin and lit a match. He told me he was proud of me! I wanted to cry... But I know that makes him feel awkward... and my make up would run so I stopped myself and held the tears in.... I'm lieing I went to the toilet and had a few tears but I was just happy to have made him happy... Finally. My Dad is a stubborn little... well he's a Baillie, I'll leave it at that... but he has his ways... and his way is to keep feelings stum and that leopards have to work hard to change their spots.... He's a hard nut to crack and to see him crack at the awards was breath taking. He just kept telling me how much I've changed and how amazed he was. Little did he know I changed a good 9 years ago... well 6 or 7... ok maybe just a few years ago but I always thought he'd never stop seeing me as the wayward 15 year old... This was the day that changed that I think... this was the day that I became the me in his eyes that everyone else has been seeing. EUREKA MOMENT!!

I think this whole experience has been a little bit grounding. Hearing about all the charity work that other women do made me more determined to up my game and do more. I am determined to help more charities get their word out there and I will need your help, not your money, but your time, effort and care... Watch this space Bloggers.

All Photo's used on this post were taken by Photographer Charlotte Snowden and are available to purchase along with others taken on the night from Charlotte's website Click Here to see the other images from this fantastic event. Charlotte is a Henley based Photographer and has a fantastic portfolio of photo's, go and take a look on her website or like her on her Facebook page.


  1. Beautiful pictures of a wonderful night. I am so sorry I couldn't be there, but couldn't take 3 days off work to travel as we're so short at work. Difficult when you're a nurse to justify putting so many others out and cover the shifts. Very, very proud of you, as you know. I'm glad Paul and Chrissie could go, and yes they did have a lot to put up with when you were young,lol, and they had a hand in how well you have done now. Thanks too, to your sister, Siobhan, Breda and all the rest of the Dennehy clan, for looking out for you and Rhys all these years. I am sure that Daniel would have loved to be there too, but the RAF calls. Keep up the good work xx

  2. Oh, Alice....you look so beautiful. I'm really pleased that you had a lovely night and you were a very worthy nominee. It's lovely that both your Mum and Dad are so proud of you. Way to go Alice xxx

  3. You looked STUNNING! Love the hair, the dress, the shrug, everything. Glad it was such a good night - and well done for being nominated in the first place. Massive acheivement! xxx


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