The 2018 Inspire Awards ceremony, held at the Whites Premier Suite in the Macron Stadium, was the largest and best attended in the event’s four year history. The awards ceremony was completed when the main prize, the Woman of the Year award, was presented by Jon Lord, CEO of Bolton Home, to Debbie Dowie, who established the Boot Out Breast Cancer charity. Earlier in the evening Debbie had also won the Charity Fundraiser of the Year award.

Debbie,  founded Boot Out Breast Cancer after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. Her cancer was diagnosed early and she received prompt treatment, but Debbie realised that not all women were so lucky and the NHS was in need of the latest diagnostic equipment. She wanted other women with the same illness to be able to have the same life-saving treatment she had and Boot Out Breast Cancer was created in 2010. Since then Debbie, as chairman, and her hard-working team of 7 friends have raised well over £700,000 to buy equipment for breast units at the Royal Bolton Hospital, the Nightingale Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital, the Thomas Linacre Breast Centre at Wrightington, the Wigan & Leigh NHS Hospital and the Paterson Institute in Manchester. Debbie is married to  TV sports pundit and former international footballer Iain Dowie,

After receiving her awards Debbie said:

I was shocked and honoured just to be nominated. To be named as Charity Fundraiser of the Year was fantastic as I really didn’t expect to win, but to then be named as Woman of Year was absolutely overwhelming.”

P Thompson

Since her arrival as Headmistress at Bolton School Girls’ Division in 2011, Sue Hincks as worked tirelessly to improve learning outcomes for pupils at the School and further afield. Her initial aim “ was to position Bolton Girls among the best performing and most sought after schools in the region.” With regular placings in the top flight of national independent school league tables by EBacc results and all Year 7 places having been full for the last three years, this has been achieved.
During her headship, she has overseen the building of a new shared Riley Sixth Form Centre, the introduction of scholarships, the issuing of iPads to all pupils, introduced a programme of highly acclaimed speakers and enrichment lectures open to the local community, been much involved with local children, typified by the SHINE programme, and with schools and the community, culminating in Bolton School being awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service last summer. Sue is a governor at nearby Smithills School, an ISI Inspector and an active member of the GSA where she represented them on HMC’s Academic Policy Committee, was Chair of the GSA Education Committee (2014-17) and is President-Elect of the GSA 2019.
Sue gained a first in modern languages and history and a PGCE from Oxford. Her first teaching role was in a Peterborough comprehensive before spells at Marlborough College and Gresham’s School in Norfolk. She was appointed Deputy Head of The King’s School, Worcester, the first woman in its history to hold this position, before taking her current role. She enjoys choral music and drama sharing these passions with students everywhere she has taught

‘Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion’
I love my career as a Personal Trainer and during my seven years within the industry I have inspired people to push through the hard times, taught people to never give up and helped people achieve goals they never thought possible. Every individual must start somewhere and I’m their somewhere. I teach, support, motivate and encourage them towards a healthier lifestyle.
My passion for Personal Training (PT) was at its highest when I took the opportunity to create my own PT studio, Attract Fitness, which opened in November 2017 to the people of Bolton. I wanted to create a space that broke down any barriers an individual may have on self-image or feeling conscious around other people, the studio is exclusive to each client that comes through the door. Everything is tailored towards them from nutrition plans & exercise programmes to the smaller things like lighting and music, which can really create the appropriate ambience for the client or clients. I’m proud of the space I have created and in 4 months have built a strong client base that

I am Diane Hughes and own Mind Body Works, my holistic therapy Business specialising in natural therapies and products.
I have been a therapist for 15 years working mainly with large corporate clients massaging over 7,000 staff to help with health and well-being in the workplace. Clients in Horwich include, EON and Regenda Housing Association and 02. I have worked with top TV shows including Britain’s got Talent and Mrs Browns Boys, and worked in Manchester theatres looking after celebrities.

At the same time, growing my Tropic Skincare business in the Bolton area supporting numerous Ambassadors by training them in facials, make-up and hosting pamper sessions. I have spoken on stage at a Tropic Skincare Conference to 1,000 ambassadors with Lord Sugar and Susie Ma who own Tropic.
I am passionate about the therapies I use, and always keen to learn new ones. Qualified in aromatherapy, sports, Hot Stone, Indian Head, Deep tissue, forearm massage, and specialising in TMJ, facia release, Dorn Method and CFT. I also trained in Reflexology, Reiki, Hopi ear candles, Hypnosis, NLP, EFT, and facials. I used these therapies to help my father through a month of hospital palliative care after a stroke, helping to comfort and support him until he passed. Holistic therapies are so needed in palliative care to bring comfort.
Bolton has been great for my career through its good networking and business groups. I am looking to achieve some new contacts to help further my holistic business in the Bolton area.

I left my corporate position after 30 years in marketing, media and sales after hitting the big 50 …

I am founder & sole owner of JGMN MARKETING MEDIA & NETWORKING

These years of experience lead me to develop JGMN. A business & social media platform for small businesses, offering an affordable extra arm to their business, our aim is to elevate their business through the eyes of a professional, throwing out creative ideas and savvy business & marketing knowledge, whilst producing business plans & strategies, with affordable individual packages to suit each client.

Why did I set up the company? I felt there was a missing cog in the market place for the small business to develop and grow organically. Small local businesses were being left behind by the big players, who could afford the salary of a strategic Marketing team. My commitment in offering my skills, helps my clients achieve the growth they want. It is so important to the JGMN team that we get to know our clients. We want to ensure “their” voice is heard through their social media platforms (not ours).

We are a crazy mix of personalities with attributes and skills from marketing pros, networkers, techies and social media gurus. The whole team are dedicated to help businesses develop brand awareness through social media, we use it for our clients to reach out to a wider audience than any other form of advertising.

As we all know social media is becoming more powerful day by day, If your not using social media and ‘networking’ your competitor will get that first date…. first impressions count…


Bekah Lord started Bekah’s Little Cakery in September 2014. With a passion for all things cake, her business caters for all special events – from bespoke wedding and birthday cakes to cupcakes and tray bakes for themed parties.

After returning home to Bolton from York after University, Rebekah was motivated to begin her business by her desire to support and encourage her young daughter. With a talent for baking she embarked on a Cake Decoration course at Bolton Community College (ABC Cake Decorating Level one) and upon completion set up business from home. Fitting orders around the childcare of her daughter. She has now produced over 100 special events cakes and provided cupcakes and tray bakes at over 50 events from Wedding and Christmas Fairs to Ladies Nights and School Parties.

Bekah continues to develop Bekah’s Little Cakery beyond special events cakes: transitioning from her home kitchen, she now supplies her indulgent cakes and tray bakes to The Barlow, in Edgworth, where she also has her commercial kitchen. From this platform, the cakes keep on coming and the vision grows: Bekah’s Little Cakery will begin demonstration classes and make-your-own cakes party events. Perhaps the most exciting development is Bekah’s recent purchase of a horsebox which is being refurbished as Bekah’s Little Cakery’s very own vintage cake van. This will be available to hire for weddings and special events complete with bespoke dessert table packages. As well as being available for Rebekah to sell her cakes from at Markets, Fairs and food festivals.

OUR Pre-Event ‘Herald of Inspiration Luncheon’ played host to a large gathering of our awards’ key associates and supporters including local government officials, heads of industry, business chiefs and social sector leaders as well as other well-known figures from the Bolton area.

This high profile ‘meet-and-greet’ on 9th March at the stunning ‘Cloisters Suite’ of Holiday Inn in Bolton town centre, of nominees, sponsors and judges enabled lasting connections and memories.

During the luncheon numerous important introductions were facilitated as well as details about our awards night ceremony to be held on May 5th, including a full unveiling of the 2018 Inspire Awards’ new, improved and extended format were shared.

Gulnaz Brennan, Inspire Awards organiser, said: “The response and turn-out at the pre-Award lunch was incredible, far exceeding our expectations.

“In the aftermath of #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns it just shows that the time is right for an event celebrating remarkable women in Bolton.

“This lunch was a tiny snapshot of what is planned for the big night in May.”

The Inspire Awards, which support local charities will take place at the Macron stadium on May 5, and Ms Brennan is encouraging businesses, organisations and individuals to get involved.

Head of Partnership and Communities, USN Bolton Arena 

Sue is the Head of Partnerships and Communities at USN Bolton Arena. Sue has been based at the Arena for 15 years, with an overriding goal to engage as many as possible in a lifetime pf physical activity.
Prior to working at Bolton ARENA; Sue was based in Cumbria as a teacher of PE before pursuing a career as a lecturer in sports science.
On a personal level Sue has taken part in competitive sport for as long as she can remember!
This has included junior title in cross country, swimming and hockey, before taking up fell running, and then triathlon as an adult. She has competed for GB on a number of occasions as a triathlete.
Sue still exercises each day and does enter an occasional triathlon to keep her hand in, and to keep in touch with a wonderful sporting community.
Sue also directly supports her local community in sport, and clubs; in any way she can.

NOMINATIONS are pouring in for the annual Inspire Awards which honour women from in and around the Bolton area. 

The closing date to suggest an individual for the prestigious awards is 16 Feburary and, as organiser Gulnaz Brennan, stated: “We want to hear about all those remarkable women whose work is never highlighted.” 

The awards themselves will be made at a special presentation evening at the Macron Stadium on Saturday, May 5. Last year, around 300 women attended the event when it was held at the University of Bolton and the Octagon Theatre’s Artistic Director Elizabeth Newman took the main Woman of the Year Award. 

The awards, originally started in a much smaller way as part of the Women in Neighbourhoods’ project, has grown over the years. 

This year, there are main awards sections covering Charity, Social, Sports, Industry, Business and Special awards. Each category is sub-divided into individual awards which include titles like Charity Volunteer of the Year, Carer of the Year, Team of the Year, Apprentice of the Year, Woman in IT Award, Woman in Housing, Senior Woman of the Year and Businesswoman of the Year.  

A shortlist of finalists will be decided by a distinguished panel of judges which includes John Lord OBE who is CEO of Bolton at Home, Elizabeth Newman from the Octagon, magazine publisher Natalie Oyston, Darren Knight who is Chief Executive of Bolton Community and Voluntary Services and Bill Webster, Assistant Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton among others. 

Sponsors and associates for the awards so far include Bolton at Home, Bolton College, Lancashire Life Magazine, Community Film Art & Media CIC, Bolton CVS, University of Bolton, I Event Media and Room Four. 

Commented Mrs Brennan: “I am delighted with the response to the awards.  

“We have attracted a high calibre of both judges and of sponsors so far and the willingness to be involved in the awards all round is a reflection of how important these awards are viewed locally.” 

She still wants to hear from local businesses and organisations who would like to sponsor categories or individual awards and help showcase  the town’s unsung female heroines. 

For all information about the awards go to or email