Angela Kelly, Award-winning Journalist and Columnist at The Bolton News

Angela is an award-winning journalist with a long and successful career in the media. She has a wealth of experience gained on daily regional newspapers and magazines, and writes regularly for a variety of publications.

As a columnist for our local newspaper, The Bolton News, she has her finger firmly on the pulse of our thriving town. Her keen eye for a good story also makes her an ideal judge for the 2018 Inspire Awards.

Also a part-time lecturer in journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, Angela runs courses and seminars that help businesses, charities and other organisations deal with the media and improve their public profile. She is also an Honorary Life Member of the National Union of Journalists.

Belinda Beaver, Vice President for Bolton at Greater Manchester’s Chamber of Commerce

Belinda is one of the biggest diving forces behind our town’s business success. In addition to representing Greater Manchester’s Chamber of Commerce in Bolton she is the director of Ag!tare, an independent management consultancy based in Horwich, and a volunteer for Business Growth Hub.

She combines 30 plus years of management experience with a passion for supporting new enterprise and uses all three roles to champion and mentor businesses across Bolton and the North West. Her drive to see local industry thrive and her hands-on approach to supporting companies has also seen her win a National Government Training Award.

More recently, as Learning & Organisational Development Director for Ag!tare, Belinda has joined with her company co-directors to launch a new digital platform to connect Greater Manchester businesses called

Claire Handby, Director for Deloitte

Claire is company director, for one of the world’s ‘big four’ professional services firms and drives performance, innovation and growth on large real estate and infrastructure projects.

As a chartered construction manager, she has worked on the Millennium Dome/02 Arena, the London Stadium and 2012 Olympic Park, Manchester’s Metro Link, the ‘Duke of York Army Barracks’ re-development in Chelsea (which gave London its first public square in 100 years) and more recently a regional growth strategy for the north’s HS2 rail project – among countless other metropolitan development projects around the world.

As an award-winning businesswoman, and a mother of three young daughters, with two decades of experience in an industry still regarded as a man’s domain she knows exactly what qualities women need to succeed in the world.

Darren Knight, Chief Executive Officer of Bolton Community and Voluntary Services

Through his role as CEO of Bolton Community and Voluntary Services, Darren champions the drive for social action and positive change in our town.

He strives to strengthen the impact his organisation has on the lives of its beneficiaries by ensuring it successfully meets the needs of their communities. In his own words, “my full focus is on ensuring that we say what we mean and we do what we say.”

Darren, who was a manager at Shelter UK and head of policy and engagement at The Lesbian & Gay Foundation before taking up his current role in 2015, is staunchly proud of the “positive change that Bolton’s amazing voluntary and community sector achieves every single day,” making him inarguably another suitable appointment to our judging panel.

AMID the glitz and glamour of Bolton’s busy social calendar comes the area’s biggest, brightest and best event yet – a night of talent and achievement, contribution and revelation, as well as admiration and celebration.





Conceived to recognise a legion of exceptional ladies, the 2018 Inspire Awards will again shine a light on women’s accomplishments in the wider Bolton area during the past twelve months. But now in its fourth year, our distinguished event takes up a new residency in the esteemed surroundings of the Premier Suite in Whites Hotel at Bolton’s prized Macron Stadium.

Our popular awards ceremony also takes on an improved and expanded format, designed to highlight an abundance of contributions and achievements from all areas of our diverse and thriving community. Over the coming months, as we approach May 5th, organisers of the 2018 Inspire Awards will be uncovering extraordinary examples of courage, triumph, kindness, compassion, transformation, skill and success. Come the night of our awards we’ll deliver a ceremony that is positively bursting at the seams with stories about community champions, unsung heroes and women who have gone above and beyond in the course of their work, service and passions. And in the process we’ll bring together a community strengthened by diversity, understanding and pride.

A Night to Remember
On Saturday May 5th we’ll be welcoming guests on a plush red carpet from 6pm, before leading them into a sparkling banqueting suite to enjoy pre-event welcome drink and canapés. Our comperes will take to the stage at 7pm to begin our awards ceremony, which will be paused at intervals for the service of three exquisite courses from a carefully chosen menu. Following the crowning of our 2018 Inspire Awards Woman of The Year as the pinnacle of our event we will bridge formality and fun, ceremony and party, with an exciting prize draw. This special night will finish with music, celebration and dancing until our last guest leaves.

In a Place of Splendour
The illustrious setting of the Premier Suite at Whites Hotel in the Macron Stadium is an ideal place to recognise the huge wealth of outstanding contributions women have made to the wider Bolton community. Our dazzling new ceremony format will be perfectly at home in the impressive space provided by this exquisite banqueting suite. With a private grand entrance, welcoming reception area, spellbinding stage and big screen technology as well as a stylish mezzanine floor that will become our VIP area, the Premier Suite gives us the chance to host a unique event that will last long in the memories of more than 400 guests who attend the 2018 Inspire Awards.

With People to Savour
The 2018 Inspire Awards will play host to industry and business chiefs, community leaders, politicians, entrepreneurs, celebrities and other well-known figures from the Bolton area’s private, public and voluntary sectors. We’ll welcome Bolton’s most influential and instrumental organisations including Bolton at Home, the University of Bolton, Manchester City Council, Bolton Wanderers Community Trust, Bolton Interfaith Council and The Bolton News.
Awards will be presented to exceptionally deserving women by prominent figures including our sponsors, who will of course bring their guests to enjoy the unique celebratory atmosphere of the Inspire Awards.

And Awards to Treasure
Our improved awards programme has seen a few changes made to the honours bestowed on the wonderful women of Bolton. New categories have been put together to ensure our event recognises women from all walks of life in the town, so no woman’s impact is overlooked. And it has also been designed to ensure Bolton’s organisations can identify valuable sponsorship opportunities that are aligned with the purpose and principles of their work, so each winner walks away with a truly beautiful, meaningful and treasured award. We hope you will find categories and awards that resonate with your desire to support your local community through the 2018 Inspire Awards.

Bolton born and bred, having attended Smithills School and worked in Bolton all her life, Gaynor has become integral to the Bolton Business Community, working alongside literally hundreds of small businesses on a daily basis. Through her marketing and advertising company thebestof bolton, she champions local businesses, supports Buy Local and really has a passion for helping businesses be the best they can be.

It’s through that passion, Gaynor, along with her husband David, recently launched ‘My Business Growth Academy’, the online business school for busy business owners, to enable small business owners to access online business support, training, coaching and more in a way that is affordable and accessible.

Gaynor also has a real passion for supporting Women in Business, having previously run her own successful Women’s Networking Group and recognises the value that women bring in their own unique way to the world of business.

Having been a successful business owner herself now for over a decade, she fully understands the pressures and stresses of running a small business and prides herself in delivering practical and effective support and advice, as someone who ‘walks the walk’ in her own business life.

She says, “As wives, mothers, homemakers and carers, as well as contributing in numerous ways in the workplace and business world, women bring a balanced and realistic dimension to life and so often I’m inspired by the stories of triumph over adversity and success despite juggling roles, I just marvel at the things women achieve’.

Bill Webster, Assistant Vice Chancellor, University of Bolton

Bill is Assistant Vice Chancellor and Deputy to the Vice Chancellor at the University of Bolton and charged with overseeing its institutional advancement, business development, and student recruitment and student employability programs. He was also recently appointed as the Interim Principal of Bolton College in a role to run from 1st December 2017 to 31st August 2018.
A qualified marketer with more than 25 years’ experience in senior management within education and business, he has previously held roles as company director in an education and training consultancy and is an expert in implementing corporate social responsibility strategies.
Seconded to Bury College in July 2016 to support its Principal, he was instrumental in its successful merger with the University of Bolton.


John Lord OBE, CEO of Bolton At Home

During a long and successful career dedicated to the housing sector, Jon has contributed to Bolton in numerous valuable roles during the past three decades.

He has been a Chief Officer at Bolton Council, Chair of the Greater Manchester Consortium for refugees and asylum seekers and performed a joint role linking the Local Authority, the Strategic Housing Partnership and their ALMO (Arm’s Length Management Organisation), Bolton At Home.

Awarded his OBE for services to housing in 2007, today he is the Chief Executive of Bolton At Home, having overseen its transition from ALMO to a registered housing provider and charity that offers a wide range of housing and community based services across neighbourhoods in Bolton and champions the development of affordable housing.


Passionate and committed Maura temporarily lived like a ‘homeless young person’ to fully understand the challenges and issues of homelessness.

Maura is director of Bolton Young Persons Housing Scheme (BYPHS), a registered charity that provides temporary supported accommodation for people aged 16-25 in the Bolton area, including some with mental health and substance abuse issues.

As well as providing accommodation the scheme supports young people who are homeless by providing emotional support and practical help, with the aim of enabling them to live independently. Last year Maura undertook a challenge to live for five days as a ‘homeless young person’ to see for herself what it was like to live on benefits.

Rebecca Evans, who nominated Maura, believes that the BYPHS has developed greatly since Maura became director, with the service reaching more young people than it ever has, and that she has been an inspirational leader.

Maura said that it was humbling to be nominated for an award, but nice to be recognised for doing something that she loves. She believes it is really important for young people to have good role models, not least because it can help them see past unrealistic expectations sometimes projected in the media and to recognise their real strengths.

Gemma seeks to educate people on the subject of consent, sex crimes and sexual exploitation.

Young mother Gemma Aitchison, founded Yes Matters, a community group that seeks to educate people on the subject of consent, sex crimes and sexual exploitation. She founded the group after her younger sister was brutally murdered in Blackpool at the age of 16.
The campaign group aims to tackle the lack of knowledge of consent, effects of sexual objectification and damage of gender stereotypes through education.

She said that she was surprised to be nominated but pleased that there is such an award, as women working for the benefit of their communities can often be taken for granted. She believes that it is very important for young people of both sexes to have good role models and recognise that success can be seen as what you do for others rather than yourself.
Gemma’s message to other women with regard to the award is that it is good to be celebrating the work that many undertake voluntarily to help their communities as their efforts can often be very inspirational to others.