SLIDESHOW OF PICTURES Jacqueline named Woman of the Year

Derry woman Jacqueline Williamson has been named the city’s Woman of the Year for 2014.

Following a glitzy ceremony at the City Hotel, Jacqueline, who was nominated by Kathleen Bradley was given the top prize.

The Derry woman is the founder Kinship Care Northern Ireland, a registered charity committed to the help and support of grandparents and other family members who are caring for the children of their extended families.

Women of the Year 2014 Jacqueline Williamson of Kinship Care. (DER1014PG032)

Women of the Year 2014 Jacqueline Williamson of Kinship Care. (DER1014PG032)

For the past four years Jacqueline has been establishing, growing and developing Kinship Care NI on a voluntary basis.

This culminated with the opening of the Kinship Care Centre on Carlisle Road a few weeks ago.

In the last 12 months the Derry woman also organised and completed an 86 mile walk ‘Walk in our shoes’ from Derry to Stormont to deliver a business case for Kinship Care.

In her nomination form Kathleen explained: “Jacqueline grew up in the public care system for 14 years. Most of the other girls that Jacqueline was in care with are now dead.

Jacqueline Williamson.  (2203JB72)

Jacqueline Williamson. (2203JB72)

“Jacqueline helped secure £1 million for a rapid response programme to assist street drinkers and people at risk of homlessness as a result of substance misuse.

“In the last year Jacqueline has had to deal with the death of her only sister through alcohol misuse and is now helping to raise her niece.

“Jacqueline’s ability to get herself out of poverty, overcome tragedy, handle a lifetime of rejection, beat all odds and still go on to start a charity is an example of what women are, committed, resilient, determined and capable.”

Jacqueline was one of 14 people who received awards at Friday night’s event.

Women who work in various spheres including Community Development, Community Relations, Health, Arts, Enterprise, Education, Older People, Youth, Childcare, Caring, Young People, Disability and Trade Unions.

Ann Donnelly picked up the award for Women in Trade Unions. The award was presented in memory of Inez McCormick