Dame Julie Walters hails ‘powerhouse’ domestic abuse activist at Women Of The Year Awards

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  • November 10, 2020
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ame Julie Walters hailed her close friend Julie Budge as an “absolute powerhouse of a woman” as the domestic abuse activist was honoured at the Women Of The Year Awards.

Budge, founder and chief executive of the My Sisters’ House support centre, took home the woman in the community award at the annual event, which this year took place as a “virtual tea” party.

Some 400 women tuned in for the 66th edition, which paid tribute to key workers, charities and NHS staff on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic and was filmed in October ahead of broadcast.

In a pre-recorded message, Dame Julie, 70, said: “I remember when we all used to sit around tables and eat, get drunk and put the world to rights.

“We can’t do that now but instead we’re going to have a fabulous virtual tea.

“Big congratulations to all of you women and all of the fantastic things that you’ve achieved.

“A big, big welcome also to our NHS staff that are joining us today and thank you for everything that you’ve done.

“I have a very special congratulations, and that goes to my friend Julie Budge. She is an absolute powerhouse of a woman.”

Lorraine Kelly and Adwoa Dickson

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Lorraine Kelly and Adwoa Dickson

/ Dave Benett/Getty Images for Wom )

Singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading celebrated “ordinary women who have done extraordinary things” as she received the lifetime achievement award.

The 69-year-old, who was this year made a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, quipped: “Thank you. I’m glad I’ve lived long enough to receive a lifetime achievement award from Women of the Year and I have to say yes, I was President of Women of the Year.”

Paying tribute to the event’s co-founder, the Marquess of Lothian, Lady “Tony” Antonella, she added: “It’s really an honour for me to accept this award because Tony Lothian was a visionary and she had the brilliant idea of honouring very ordinary women who have done extraordinary things.”

Virtual event celebrates 66th Women of the Year Awards

The wellness warrior award went to Sylvia Mac, burns survivor and body confidence activist, while Poppy Gustafsson, chief executive and co-founder of cyber-security firm Darktrace, was honoured with the innovation award.

Adwoa Dickson accepted the community spirit award for her work the Amies Freedom Choir, a community choir for young women who have survived trafficking.