Mildred crowned Woman of the Year

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An emotional Mildred Garfield last night said she was overwhelmed after winning Derry’s Woman of the Year title.

Mrs Garfield said winning was a huge shock.

She had been nominated for the City Council award by her daughter Councillor April Garfield Kidd who praised her mum for her work across Derry, in particular her work with older people.

On Friday night at a glitzy ball in the City Hotel the former Mayor was presented with her prize.

In a career that includes more than 30 years of voluntary service, Mildred Garfield has sat on the boards of numerous primary schools, community committee groups, the Nelson Drive Luncheon Club and the Salvation Army Committee.

She also worked with Caw Youth Club, the British Legion Woman’s Branch, and served as a councillor and as Derry’s Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

In nominating her mother April Garfield Kidd said her mum, “has been involved with cross community work for over 30 years and is welcomed in all sectors in the city.

“Her time in local government was testament as to how an inclusive society should operate and as Mayor of the City she represented everyone equally and fairly.”

April explained that her mum has been instrumental in the Caw/Nelson Drive area, fund-raising for new flats which opened last summer and are now an integral part of the community.

“She is also very active with the Pensioners Luncheon Club which take place three days a week and provides a delivery service to those who require it. She organises funding, raffles, parties and games for this club and attendance has grown considerably over the past year.”

April also spoke above her mother’s grief at losing her friend and community worker Carol Simpson last year - but explained how Mildred had taken on many of Carol’s duties at the North South Cross Community Partnership, a group that organises trips and a holidays for pensioners to Cork and other locations in the South of Ireland.

“She ensured everyone had a memorable holiday for all the right reasons even though there was a noticeable absence which was Carol,” she said.

As well as her community work April described her mum as a “hands on” granny.

“Two of her grandchildren are twins and one has cerebral palsy,” she said.

“She has been a great support to her daughter especially after the sudden death of her husband and as a mentor as her daughter entered the political arena passing on much valued advice and guidance.”

Paying tribute to Mildred, the Mayor Alderman Maurice Devenney said she truly deserved the accolade for the excellent work she does to help older members of the community.

“Mildred is a tireless worker for the local community, giving up her time to ensure everyone is involved in local activities and events in the Caw area. Mildred is a well known and much loved character with a fun loving personality and is a truly deserving winner.”

Other winners on the night included Martha McClelland in the contribution to health category and Melissa Devine, who picked up the “’Women living a Disability’ award. Melissa recently took part in a high profile TV ad campaign ‘Crashed Lives’ in which families spoke out about the devastation caused to them by car accidents.

See Tuesday’s Journal for further coverage and pictures.