2017 Cheshire Woman Award

2017 Winner – Cheshire Woman of the Year

Hilary Ash

Hilary was born and brought up in North Oxfordshire, and read Botany at Oxford University. After a gap year spent in voluntary service, she came north to Liverpool University to do a PhD, researching the way native plants grow on industrial waste sites. Hilary plays violin, piano and church organ, and met her husband John in a Liverpool orchestra. They settled in Bromborough, Wirral (where they still live) after their marriage in 1982, and they have two adult sons.

Hilary continued as a part-time botanist round the family, doing surveys, management plans and habitat creation work, mostly in urban areas. In 1987 she became involved with the Wirral Group of Cheshire Wildlife Trust (CWT) – known as Wirral Wildlife – and has been active in nature conservation ever since. This has included 28 years of writing responses to planning applications, and 30 years as Honorary Conservation Officer for Wirral Wildlife, advising community groups, local authorities, other conservation charities and individual landowners. A key project has been New Ferry Butterfly Park, a CWT nature reserve run by a local team, which has transformed a derelict railway goods yard into a thriving park centred on invertebrates, with a strong educational and people-facing focus.

When the recent recession badly hit funding, Hilary slipped out of paid work into more nature conservation; and also increased her training of new botanists, old and young – mostly by taking them out on plant surveys.

When not involved with wild plants, Hilary is a gardener, with a half-allotment on Wingate Road Allotments Association in Eastham. This is a self-managed set, of which Hilary was Treasurer for 11 years and is now President. She is organist of St David’s United Reformed Church, Eastham, which she is also helping with Eco-Church certification and a new Forest Church initiative; and she plays violin in the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Orchestra. Just occasionally she finds time to do some baking and knitting!

Hilary says “I have followed this route because it seemed to be what God wanted me to do, but most of it is and has been very enjoyable, especially wandering round some of the nicest parts of Cheshire with the excuse of looking at the plants growing there!”

Hilary Ash
Hilary Ash

Guest Speaker – Jayne McCubbin

I’m a reporter with BBC Breakfast. Britain’s most watched breakfast TV program with almost 7 million people tuning in each day. I’m also a mum of three mega boys, Jim (9) Gil (6) and Ted (4). They are the reason I’m probably the most dishevelled looking face on the box. Life is chaos! I’m married to a Scotsman Scott, who I met on my first day at Liverpool University where we both studied politics. We’ve recently moved back to Cheshire where I was born and we live in Neston which we love.

My Breakfast job is so varied. In the past few months I’ve challenged Government Ministers about imminent education cuts – set to be worst in Cheshire; travelled to Antigua as I followed a group of working mums as they became to oldest to ever row across an ocean; highlighted the plight of children trapped in an inadequate underfunded care system; featured a wonderful scheme in Cheshire to help bereaved women fill the void left by their husbands death by learning new skills in the Men’s Shed; and I spent a month looking at a funding crisis in the Hospice movement. No two days are the same and it is a privilege to meet so many interesting people.

I’m very honoured to be the holder of two Royal Television Society Reporter of the Year Awards for my previous work with BBC North West Tonight. I was also named the Consumer Affairs Correspondent of the year by Trading Standards bodies, for my work exposing conmen and frauds. My career began working for the Liverpool Echo group before becoming a video-journalist and later joining BBC Radio Merseyside. One of my first ever stories as a journalist was to warn parents of a peril they hadn’t yet heard of – The Internet. An indication of how long I’ve been in this game!

I generally can’t believe my luck at having such a cracking job and lovely family. The BBC Breakfast team are officially the nicest bunch in national television news. In my spare time I pick Lego and dirty clothes up off the floor, play the occasional board game, cycle to Parkgate and drink wine.

Jayne McCubbin

Nominees of 2017

Brenda Thompson

Brenda Thompson

Erica Jones

Erica Jones

Jenny Rees

Jenny Rees

Cheryl Simpson

Cheryl Simpson

Jean Adcock

Jean Adcock

Kimberley Marlor

Kimberley Marlor

Lorelly Wilson MBE

Lorelly Wilson MBE

Moria Menelaws

Moria Menelaws

Cynthia Burek

Cynthia Burek

Joanne Masterman

Joanne Masterman

Helen Curwen

Helen Curwen

Katie Stabler

Katie Stabler

Sally Wilkinson

Sally Wilkinson

Jill Sheldrake MBE

Jill Sheldrake MBE

Rachel Kay

Rachel Kay

Joanne Moore

Joanne Moore

Gaynor Westray

Gaynor Westray

Carla Atherton

Carla Atherton

Claire Davis

Claire Davis

Annmarie Sharp

Annmarie Sharp

Julie Smith

Julie Smith

Sajmira Cairns

Sajmira Cairns

Helen Brown

Helen Brown

Jane Naumkin

Jane Naumkin

Irene Astbury

Irene Astbury

Ann-Marie Chamberlain

Ann-Marie Chamberlain

Karen Rogers

Karen Rogers

Janice Spibey

Janice Spibey

Linda Smith

Linda Smith

Dee Drake

Dee Drake

Anne Bentley

Anne Bentley

Samantha Tebb

Samantha Tebb

Justine McLaughlin

Justine McLaughlin

Sue Daly

Sue Daly

Jackie Roberts

Jackie Roberts

Winifred Robinson

Winifred Robinson

Sherann Hillman MBE

Sherann Hillman MBE

Suzanne Cook

Suzanne Cook

Christine Eyre BEM

Christine Eyre BEM

Sheila Fowler

Sheila Fowler

Sarbjit Kaur MBE

Sarbjit Kaur MBE

Tracey Fisher MBE

Tracey Fisher MBE

Katie Starkey

Katie Starkey

Debra MacLeod

Debra MacLeod

2017 Sponsors

Special thanks to all our sponsors and supporters. Click on logo's for websites
HeyWP specialise in Wordpress web design
Premier gym and fitness club
Ribbons, Bows and Trimmings
Specialist wedding and event floristry
Hoopers Department Store
Live music adding to your social event
Live music adding to your social event
Living, Dining, Bedrooms & Flooring
Specialist diary products to the UK & beyond
Handmade and bespoke jewellery and art
Garden and home centre
Jenkinsons Office Supplies
Cosmetics, body and bath products
Hairdressing Team in West Kirby, Wirral
Print Solutions in Ellesmere Port
Bespoke and fine diamond jewellery
Award winning recipes - jams, marmalades and chutney's
Natural skincare products and make up
The Q Hotels Group - Park Royal Hotel
International soft drinks business
Powerful, handcrafted luxury cars
Quality Menswear, Heswall
Cheshire Life magazine
Milling oats in the Cheshire since 1675
Reaseheath Agricultural College
Reaseheath Agricultural College