Charity founder and entrepreneurs among Rugbeians up for Ladies First Awards - The Rugby Observer

Charity founder and entrepreneurs among Rugbeians up for Ladies First Awards

Rugby Editorial 22nd Apr, 2024   0

AN INSPIRATIONAL woman who started a life-saving charity in memory of her son is among the Rugby women nominated for a prestigious award.

Naomi Rees-Issitt has been shortlisted in the Charity of the Year and Community Champion category in the sixth Ladies First Network Business and Inspirational Women Awards.

Naomi founded the OurJay Foundation in 2022 in the name of her 18-year-old son Jamie Rees, who died suddenly following a cardiac arrest.

The charity raises awareness of the importance of publicly accessible defibrillators and provides training in life-saving skills – and has so far installed over 155 defibrillators across the region.

Naomi said: “I am so proud to have been selected as a finalist for the Charity and Community Champion Award in the Ladies First awards.

“But this is for our team, not just me – of course our precious Jamie, our Trustees, our amazing electricians, and obviously our Jem Issit. We simply would not be ‘OurJay’ without these amazing people.

“Thank you Ladies First for such lovely news.”

Two entrepreneurs from Rugby are also among those contending for Business Woman of the Year accolade.

Jaide Ellery-Martin, who runs Jaide’s Stage Studios, and Louise Adkins, who runs Share Haulage, make up two of the six women in the headline category.

Jaide Ellery-Martin, who runs Jaide’s Stage Studios.

Jaide is looking forward to the 25th anniversary of Jaide’s Stage Studios next year after establishing the business aged just 14.

The Council for Dance and Musical Theatre-accredited dance school teaches around 100 children and over 50 adults a week, as well as running after-school clubs and sessions in nurseries and pre-schools.

Jaide said: “Finding out I had been nominated for the award was totally unexpected but an amazing feeling. I was completely overwhelmed that I had then been selected as a finalist.

“It is wonderful to be acknowledged, feel valued and appreciated as well as be recognised for something that is far more than just a job to me, which makes me feel extremely grateful.

“I have mentored and trained many of my students, several who have gained success themselves, not just as dancers or dance teachers, but also owning their own businesses and performing professionally in the West End – as well as one student who is now travelling the world as part of an indie-rock band. I feel this is so important as an investment in the next generation.

“It is so rewarding and the inspiration and excitement from my students only drives me further to continue my passion of teaching my skills to as many as I possibly can.”

Louise Adkins, Managing Director of Share Haulage.

As Managing Director, Louise Adkins 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 to be selected as a finalist. 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.”

Other finalists from the Rugby area include Vicky Lofthouse of EN: ABLE Sustainability who is nominated in the Sustainable Business Leader category, and Natalie Ellis of Rebox HR in Braunston, who is up for the Excellence in Professional Services award.

They were all selected from hundreds of nominations from across the UK, all of whom were invited to an independent judging day ahead of a prestigious awards ceremony at Dallas Burston Polo Club in Southam on June 13.

Visit for more information about the OurJay Foundation.

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