Charity founder and entrepreneur among Rugbeians to triumph at Ladies First Awards - The Rugby Observer

Charity founder and entrepreneur among Rugbeians to triumph at Ladies First Awards

AN INSPIRATIONAL Rugby woman who started a life-saving charity in memory of her son has won a prestigious award.

Naomi Rees-Issitt was named the winner of the Charity of the Year category at the sixth Ladies First Network Business and Inspirational Women Awards.

Following her son Jamie’s death following a cardiac arrest at the age of just 18, Naomi has dedicated the last four years of her life to the OurJay Foundation.

The charity raises awareness of the importance of publicly accessible defibrillators and provides training in life-saving skills – and has so far installed over 170 defibrillators across the region.

Naomi has achieved huge national awareness with her campaigning – and it is her ambition to have defibrillators installed on every street corner in the country.

She said: “This award was for Jamie and all of OurJay, not just for me. Jamie’s team are amazing and they work so hard for our precious boy.

“We now have 173 accessible defibrillators, plus 36 Snap Fitness gym defibs and a further 26 pitchside or mobile defibs.

“OurJays trustees, supporters, sparkies and friends and family are the people that deserve this amazing award.”

Louise Adkins is presented with the Business Woman of the Year Award by Siobhan Rowland from Edwards Wealth. Picture by Everybody Smile Photography

At the awards, Rugby’s Louise Adkins – the founder of Share Haulage – was named Business Woman of the Year.

As Managing Director, Louise has developed Share Haulage in Clifton for the past 22 years, during which time the business has been awarded the prestigious FORS Silver Operator status.

Louise said: “It’s an absolute honour. All the ladies are so deserving and incredibly talented. It’s a pleasure to be shortlisted alongside them.

“We employ local people and put as much as we possibly can back into the local community.”

Four hundred people assembled at Dallas Burston Polo Club in Southam for the awards ceremony hosted by Kirsty Leahy, Karen Jones and ‘Roberto’.

Other Warwickshire winners included BBC radio presenter Trish Adudu who was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Media; Jackie Allan of Revolve in Leamington, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Fashion and Retail, and Journalist Sally Bee from Stratford, who was presented with a special Woman of Courage Award.

Ladies First director Karen Tracey said: “It was a phenomenal evening celebrating the achievements of women, men, and future young influencers in business. We couldn’t be more proud of this inspiring event. Huge congratulations to all of our 2024 winners.”

The evening also raised £8,000 for The Giles Trust Brain Tumour Fund, which raises funds for research, pioneering equipment and support for patients.

Visit for the full list of winners.

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