Dying Matters champion named Sussex Woman of the Year
Mandy was presented with the accolade by former Olympic champion Sally Gunnell at the 2013 Woman of the Year Awards on 22 November at the Hilton, Avisford, after one of her carers and a friend separately nominated her. The awards honour inspirational women in 17 separate categories, including fashion, sport and education.
Earlier in the evening, Mandy, who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and needs to use oxygen 24 hours a day, had been presented with the Inspirational Woman of the Year award. She was stunned to receive the overall Woman of the Year prize from a field which recognised many hard-working and inspiring local women.
"I couldn't believe it when it was announced. It was a very emotional moment and I couldn't stop shaking. I was totally blown away," said Mandy.
As she named Mandy as the overall winner, Sally Gunnell said: "We believe she deserves the highest accolade for her amazing work."
During her acceptance speech, Mandy spoke about how the award was a tribute to every non-professional committed to heightening the profile of end of life care issues. "It's not so much for me but for everyone with personal experience in end of life care who wants to raise awareness not because it's their profession but because they feel so passionate about the issues.
"I also spoke about the importance of the work of the National Council for Palliative Care in raising awareness of palliative care."
Simon Chapman, Director of Public and Parliamentary Engagement for Dying Matters and NCPC, said: "Mandy works tirelessly to improve end of life care in this country as well as in Sussex where she lives. Her warmth and love of life shine through even as she explains what it is like for her to be living with COPD in a wheelchair on oxygen, and why we all need to discuss our own end of life care and that of people close to us in a much more open confident and informed way.
"With the other members of our People in Partnership group, she has helped ensure that the voices of people with personal experience inform NCPC’s work to influence government and decision makers at every level.”
In spite of her significant mobility and health difficulties, Mandy, 51, from Littlehampton, is committed to turning ‘negatives into positives’ on a daily basis by helping others. She has a long involvement with both Dying Matters and our lead charity, the National Council for End of Life Care (NCPC), and aims to raise £50,000 for us. As well as speaking widely at NCPC and Dying Matters events, Mandy is a member of NCPC’s People in Partnership Steering group and Chronic Respiratory Diseases Group, and played a key role in the development of our Difficult Conversations booklet on COPD. She is also on the trustee board of directors for Independent Lives.
Mandy's most recent awards are part of several accolades she has received recently. In 2012, she was awarded an MBE by Prince Charles for services to healthcare. She is also currently on the shortlist for a Community Stars award in the True Inspiration category.
- Mandy will be raising awareness of end of life issues in Tesco, Littlehampton, on 18 December. Do pop by and give her your support her if you live locally.
- Video: See the moment Mandy received her award
- Visit Mandy's JustGiving fundraising page
- See our Facebook gallery of Mandy's achievements
- Follow Mandy on Twitter