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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Commitment to community leads to Cumbria Woman of the Year honour

A woman who “encapsulates the essence of life in Cumbria” has been crowned this year’s Woman of the Year.

June Hall photo
June Hall

June Hall, of Newbiggin, near Stainton, Penrith, was awarded the title at the annual Cumbria Women of the Year lunch yesterday at Storrs Hall, Windermere.

June, a tutor in textile skills, was awarded the title in recognition of her outstanding commitment to the Cumbrian community and its heritage over the last decade, as well as her generosity of spirit and willingness to nurture the talents of others.

Judges said: “June moved to Cumbria in 2002 from Wensleydale, and has since encapsulated the essence of life in Cumbria in everything she does. She is a tutor in textile skills, an authority on local Cumbrian history and an archivist and committed member of the Society of Friends’ Mosedale and North Cumbria Area meetings.

“In 2003 she co-founded Cumbria’s first knitting café in Penrith.

“This group has been involved in making blankets and items of clothing for newborn babies in Pakistan, thanks to June making contact with a Cumbrian doctor working there and arranging the distribution of woollen items.”

In 2002, June joined the Wool Clip, a co-operative of craftswomen working in wool, and in 2005, organised the exhibition Woolfest in Cockermouth.

June organised demonstrations and lectures during the first six years of this event, which has been a triumph, putting Cumbrian wool and textile skills on the worldwide map.

In 2004, June proved her talents as an author, writing the children’s book, Henrietta Herdwick, about the life of a Cumbrian fell farmer.

Her dedication to the Herdwick breed, and others, led to her becoming first chairwoman and now vice chairwoman of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

She has also worked with Cumbrian charity, Lithuania Link, to help Lithuanians develop new skills and find a better quality of life after Soviet occupation.

All of these achievements have been underpinned by what judges said was selflessness, humility and kindness, described by the nominees who put June forward for the Cumbria Women of the Year award.

Tess Hart MBE, chairman of Cumbria Women of the Year, said: “We received about 70 nominations for the award this year and all nominees are women who are part of the backbone of their communities.

“All of these women deserve acknowledgement for what they do for others and we hope the lunch offers them a day to enjoy themselves and the opportunity to mingle with like-minded women who are driving Cumbria forward.

“Although all nominations were worthy and inspiring, June’s shone through.”

Musician Renna Kellaway MBE, who organises the Lake District Summer Music Festival, won the Cumbria Lifetime Achievement Award. Renna lives in High Bentham.

Yesterday’s event raised money for Parkinson’s UK.

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