Kathy Leather is joined by the other big winners on the night
Kathy Leather, Commercial Director at Worcester Warriors, has spoken of her 'real pride' after being named Worcestershire Businesswoman of the Year in recognition of her ground-breaking work at Sixways Stadium and across the region.
Hundreds of people gathered in a marquee on College Green, Worcester, on Saturday for the 2009 Worcestershire Women of the Year luncheon and to salute the area's most outstanding women.
The prestigious event recognises the important contributions that local women have made to society, while raising vital funds for St Richard's Hospice, Worcester.
Kathy took the top business award after her tireless work to make Sixways Stadium the centre of business activity across the area and also the huge amount of time she spends helping out the local community and charities.
Kathy, who is coming up to a decade of work at Warriors, admitted the award had come as a huge shock and praised the other finalists for the outstanding work they had done across Worcestershire.
"The award fills me with real pride for the work I have done and I hope it will enable me to get even further into the fabric of Worcestershire to help grow the profile of the county and also support St Richard's Hospice and the other fantastic charities that make this region unique in its own way," she said.
"The whole day just left me speechless. I was really taken aback by the whole reaction to the award and the good wishes and congratulations I have received. I've had so many letters, texts and emails and it makes you take stock and realise how many people you do come into contact in my role. People have been so generous with their thoughts.
"It means a lot to me and it was great to meet up with the other contestants too. They should all be very proud of what they have achieved. They are all winners to me and have all played a big part in making Worcestershire the great place it is to live and work."
During her time at Sixways Stadium, Kathy has helped gates grow from 800 to over 10,000 and seen the turnover of the club on non-match days soar into seven figures.
She has also used her role to push health issues such as quit smoking campaigns, prostate cancer awareness, anti-drugs campaigns and urged people to give blood. Her charity work has seen her work closely with the Wooden Spoon Society, the British Heart Foundation, British Lung Foundation, Leukaemia Care, young Carers, Help for Heroes, NSPCC, Breast Care Unit, National Breast Campaign, Polio Plus, Tsunami Appeal and the Flood Appeal in region to name but a few.
Cecil Duckworth, Chairman at Warriors, said: "I was delighted to hear the news and congratulated her immediately on this thoroughly deserved recognition of all she has done.
"Kathy has worked so tirelessly for our club for almost ten years and during that time she has been responsible for significant changes and increases in our activities, both on matchdays and non-matchdays.
"Her work range has been truly fantastic from selling boxes to sponsorship on big game days to building the non-rugby side of the business up, which has grown substantially with our new facilities here at Sixways Stadium.
"It was no surprise to me that she won because of the real drive, ambition and organisation she possesses. These are the qualities you need if you are going to be a growing and successful business and Kathy has been a key part of our success.
Charlie Little, General Manager at Warriors, added: "Kathy is a wonderful ambassador for the club. She works hard not just for Warriors but also with the community and the huge amount she does for local charities.
"She has been with the club for almost ten years and I'm sure this award is just part of what will be a memorable tenth year with us."
The other awards on the night saw the Achievement Award, which recognises a woman with dedication and determination who supports and encourages others in the working world, go to Mary Cull, an adult guidance adviser at Worcester College of Technology. The Voluntary Award went to Jeannie Young, a founder and driving force behind St Richard's Hospice.
This weekend (April 28-30), all Aviva Premiership matches including Worcester Warriors' game against Newcastle Falcons will be dedicated to Restart Rugby, the official charity of the Rugby Players' Association.