Lorraine's Inspirational Woman of the Year finalists
Our Lorraine Inspirational Woman of the Year finalists as chosen by our judges are...
Amanda Root, from Surrey, was nominated for selflessly setting up the charity Talitha, which reaches out to vulnerable women in the UK and in India and aims to help transform their lives through creative arts.
A British screen and theatre actress herself, Amanda, 55, founded Talitha in 2010 which began as volunteering in India for girls rescued from sex trafficking and violence. It is now a registered UK charity, delivering therapeutic art workshops to safe houses for women rescued from trafficking and sexual exploitation in the UK, and also facilitates programmes for victims of domestic violence, and those living with dementia.
Through creative art, Amanda and her team of volunteers work tirelessly to restore hope and dignity to those who, through no fault of their own, feel they have lost both. The charity also visits care homes and brings creative and therapeutic approaches to help dementia patients feel valued and included. As well as this, it runs creative workshops in halfway houses for victims of domestic abuse.
Amanda's friend Selina Giles, who nominated her for the award, said: "It is Amanda's vision and leadership that has developed this successful charity into what it is today. A wide team of actors, musicians, dancers, artists and art therapists contributing and learning more effective ways to help people transform their lives.
She added: "As a woman she is bright, vibrant and compassionate. It's as though she's found her calling and has selflessly put 100 percent into making this charity work. Her caring and kindness are crucial to achieve what she does."
Today, Victoria Milligan surprised the second of three Lorraine Inspirational Woman of Year finalists as chosen by our judges!
She is truly the epitome of the word inspirational
Gill Harler has been named Lorraine's second Inspirational Woman of the Year finalist.
Gill, from Weymouth, is living with terminal ovarian cancer but has found the strength to continue raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of the 'silent killer' to educate other women and aid early diagnosis.
Gill, an ambassador of her local hospice, has raised thousands of pounds for cancer charities through her tireless life-saving efforts.
Melissa Denton, who nominated Gill for the award, said: ''She has shown tremendous courage and is selfless to the extreme. I have no doubt she has already saved lives. Anyone who meets Gill is in awe of her courage despite knowing she is dying. With the support of her wonderful husband Anton, they have worked tirelessly to complete her challenge to save lives.
''Rather than thinking of herself and what she wishes to do in her dying days she has devoted her entire time to this cause.''
Inspirational mum-of-two Lizzie Jones, from Halifax, has been recognised for her incredible life-saving work following the death of her husband from an undiagnosed heart condition.
In May 2015, Lizzie, 31, lost her husband Danny who collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest while playing rugby. Danny was just 29 when he died, leaving behind Lizzie and their five-month-old twins Phoebe and Bobby.
Despite the unthinkable tragedy, brave and inspirational Lizzie began campaigning for all rugby league division players to be able to have heart screening in an inspirational and determined bid to save lives.
And with the help of the Rugby League Benevolent Fund, Lizzie has also set up a charity in Danny's name, the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund. Through the charity she aims to get defibrillators into all grass roots rugby clubs across the country. Eventually she wants every sporting venue, school and community centre to have them.
Lizzie's good friend Laura Simeunovich, who nominated her for the award, said: "Lizzie is inspirational. Whilst dealing with her own grief and raising her children alone, she is making sure other people are safe, and is trying to save families going through what she has.
She continued: ''Danny would be exceptionally proud of his wife. She is a fantastic role model for her children, and they will grow up knowing that their mummy is saving lives in their daddy's name.''
Lorraine's Inspirational Woman of the Year
Lorraine's Inspirational Woman of the Year award, now in its sixth year, is a celebration of exceptional women in our everyday lives.
This year, our Inspirational Woman of the Year judges are Lorraine Kelly, President of Women of the Year Sandi Toksvig, and we're delighted to welcome our guest judge Judy Murray, mother of tennis ace Andy Murray, to the panel.
We received more than 300 nominees this year and our judges have had the incredibly tough job of selecting our three very deserving finalists, but ultimately the winner will be crowned by you - the viewers.
Our phone vote opens on Thursday 13 October for you to vote on your Woman of the Year.