Fleur is our Mum of the Year

Fleur Bell with her husband Mark and their daughter Rebecca

Fleur Bell with her husband Mark and their daughter Rebecca

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Inspirational women who have overcome adversity, been towers of strength for their families and so often put the needs of others first, were honoured in the Telegraph’s Mum of the Year competition.

From the many entries received, seven finalists were selected and presented with their prizes at an afternoon tea.

Choosing a winner was no easy task for the judging panel, headed by personnel manager Gail Robinson and a group of colleagues from Waitrose at Rushden, the main sponsors of the competition.

The nominations were touching, humbling and inspirational.

The Mum of the Year winner was Fleur Bell, of Nelson Road, Corby, who has nursed and cared for her husband Mark since a road accident four years ago left him fighting for his life.

She was nominated by her daughter Rebecca, 13, who said: “My dad was in hospital for quite a while and for the whole of the time my mum kept the family strong, looking after myself and visiting my dad each day.”

Fleur still found time to be a volunteer swimming coach, raise money for the air ambulance and patrol local woodland picking up broken glass to stop dogs being injured.

She said: “Rebecca, Mark and I have been on a long journey in the last four years and it means a lot to win this award.”

The awards ceremony was held at the Holiday Inn, Corby, also a sponsor of the event along with Forget Me Knott, which provided all the finalists with flowers.

Telegraph editor Neil Pickford welcomed mums and their guests and thanked competition sponsors for their support.

He said: “The nominations were outstanding but you are best of the best.”

The other finalists were:

Linda Scott, nominated for the care she has given to her mother who was diagnosed with cancer, despite suffering from arthritis

Kate Warrender, who was left a widow at the age of 28 when her husband was killed in a car crash, and has cared for her children, sometimes holding down three jobs at a time

Katrina Baker, of Corby, who set up the charity Macy’s Memory when her daughter died of a rare genetic condition in 2008 and now works tirelessly to help other grieving families

Sharon Rice, who is a nurse at Kettering General Hospital, and who raises funds to help meningitis patients after her best friend’s son died of the disease

Grandmother Eileen Neighbours, who has myeloma cancer and osteoperosis, and has always been there for her family

Tina Craddock was registered blind in March due to diabetes at the age of 42, but has stayed positive for her family

The finalists each received Waitrose vouchers, flowers and a certificate.

Everyone is a winner

Judges in the Mum of the Year competition were impressed by the stories of inspiration and love behind the nominations. Gail Robinson, personnel manager at Waitrose in Rushden, said: “We were so inspired by the entries. They were all so deserving and that made our task very hard. They were all winners but Fleur Bell’s nomination was a truly inspiring story.” Gail was joined on the judging panel by a group of colleagues from Waitrose, a sponsor of the competition along with the Holiday Inn and Forget Me Knott.