In Pics - Derry’s Woman of the Year Awards 2013

“Passionate, incredible and hardworking.”

These were all words used to describe Derry’s Woman of the Year 2013 - Denise White.

Denise White, seated, winner of the Woman of the Year 2013 pictured with judges and previous winners at the the award ceremony at the City Hotel. Included, are Olga Bradshaw, Londonderry Sentinel, Erin Hutcheon, Derry Journal, Darinagh Boyle, Local Women, Sarah Brett, BBC Radio Foyle, the Mayor and Mayoress of Derry, Councillor Kevin And Mrs Deirdre Campbell, Joanna Boyd, Derry City Council, Catherine Cooke and Mildred Garfield. (0903SL34)

Denise White, seated, winner of the Woman of the Year 2013 pictured with judges and previous winners at the the award ceremony at the City Hotel. Included, are Olga Bradshaw, Londonderry Sentinel, Erin Hutcheon, Derry Journal, Darinagh Boyle, Local Women, Sarah Brett, BBC Radio Foyle, the Mayor and Mayoress of Derry, Councillor Kevin And Mrs Deirdre Campbell, Joanna Boyd, Derry City Council, Catherine Cooke and Mildred Garfield. (0903SL34)

Denise, who founded the charity ‘Something Special’ in 2007 was given the title following a ceremony at the City Hotel on Friday night.

And it wasn’t just the crowd who rose to their feet in rapturous applause who thought so.

The Canning family from Creggan who nominated her for the award said Denise’s work had been a “lifeline.”

“Denise is an inspiration,” Patsy Canning stated on the nomination form.

“She never sees the disability in our young people, only their abilities, and she is fearless in campaigning to improve the lives of children and adults with learning disabilities.

“She has made a massive difference to the lives of so many families in this area through her commitment, dedication and her Uncle Dessie would be very proud of her.”

“I can’t believe it,” Denise told the Journal. “I am totally overwhelmed and in shock.

“What it does do is bring into reality what I have done and what I aim to do in the future because my vision is huge.

“My uncle Dessie had Down Syndrome and he was one of the reasons I set up Something Special.

“The people I work with are amazing and have so many talents.

“Setting up Something Special is the best decision I have ever made. We are doing incredible things.”

Paying tribute to Denise, the Mayor Colr. Kevin Campbell said she was a well deserved winner who worked tirelessly to make a real difference to the lives of others.

Award winners

Maureen Collins – Community Development

Susan Gibson – Contribution to Health

Tracy Hegarty – Contribution to Enterprise

Collette Craig – Contribution to Community Safety

Eibhlin Ni Dhochartaigh – Contribution to Arts

Denise White – Contribution to Formal/Informal education and overall winner of 2013 Woman of the Year

Rose White – Contribution to Older People

Mary O’Neill – Contribution to Youth

Maureen Hassan – Contribution to Childcare

Agnes Ward – Contribution to Caring

Laura Holmes – Living with a Disability