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Julie Ann is Woman of the Year 2016 winner

04 March 2016

A founder member of Life after Loss, a support group set up to help parents affected by the loss of a child, has been awarded the title of 2016 Woman of the Year, at a ceremony at the City Hotel, tonight, Friday, 04 March.

Julie Ann Coll was awarded the prestigious accolade after being nominated for her inspirational role in providing support and friendship to parents across the Derry City and Strabane District Council area.

Making the announcement at the Derry City and Strabane District Council organised annual event, which is sponsored by Local Women Magazine, the Mayor, Councillor Elisha McCallion, described Julie Ann as a truly inspirational woman who despite her own grief and trauma of losing a child did so much to offer support and help to families devastated by the loss of a baby and giving them the drive to continue with life and find some comfort from their incredible loss.

She said: “Julie Ann is a fantastic person, who is committed to working to help and support other parents who have suffered such a terrible loss. As a mother of three young children myself I can’t even imagine the grief or heartache suffered by any parent who has lost a child, it is an intolerable thought. I know that Julie Ann despite the tragedy experienced in her life has managed to use her grief and her experience into providing help and support to others. She has provided parents across the region with the chance to talk to one another, share their stories and their grief and to find comfort from one another. Her commitment to the Life After Loss charity and helping others, has not gone unnoticed and I am delighted that her energy and positivity has been formally acknowledged today.”

Julie Ann was described in her nomination form as being a truly inspiring. One nominee wrote – “Life may never be the same but thanks to Julie Ann and the Life After Loss team, it can slowly be rebuilt and eventually you can learn to smile again.”

Other winners on the night were: Kathleen Healy for her contribution to Women’s Community Development, Marilyn Zuniga for her contribution to Community Relations, Rose Green for contribution to Health; the Galliagh Women’s Group for their Contribution to Enterprise and Trish Austin for her Contribution to the Arts. The Contribution to Formal and Informal Education award went to Margaret Cunningham, while the Contribution to Older People went to Anne Bradley, the Contribution to Youth went to Sonia Blakely, Lorraine Lambert won the Contribution to Caring award, Margaret Chambers won the Contribution to Childcare award while the Young Women’s Award went to Emma McGinley.

Mayor of Derry and City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Elisha McCallion, extending her thanks to everyone who took part in the awards, said it was a hugely significant occasion for the city. “Tonight’s event is extremely significant in that it’s the first one for the new Derry City and District Council. The Women of the Year awards is a hugely successful night and a great forum to acknowledge the important role of women in our local community who are making a real difference to the lives of many.”

Joanna Boyd, Women’s Officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council, who co-ordinated the awards said the 2016 Awards were another hugely successful event. “We had a huge level of interest in this year’s event with applications from all over the city and district. It is fantastic to see so many inspirational women in the city and district who are working tirelessly to benefit others and we are delighted to be able to acknowledge them through the annual awards ceremony.”

She also extended her thanks to Local Women Magazine for sponsoring the event.