On Friday 29 June 2018 the presentation ceremony for the first ever Mary Turner Award for Young Women was held at Londoneast-UK in Dagenham. The award was commissioned by the GMB trade union to commemorate the life of former National President Mary Turner CBE, and to celebrate the next generation of inspirational women.
The competition was organised by Jon Cruddas MP and guest speakers at the event included Barbara Plant the newly elected National President of the GMB, Mary Turners daughter Denise, Penny Robinson the President of GMB London Region, Councillor Sade Bright, and the event was hosted by Councillor Margaret Mullane.
All the secondary schools in the constituency of Dagenham and Rainham were contacted by Jon Cruddas MP in May, and asked to nominate one outstanding young woman from their school to be shortlisted for this award. The nomination was based on:
- Commitment to their endeavours
- Contribution to their community and the school
- Someone that encapsulates the spirit of the area (suffragettes, striking Ford women etc.)
All the secondary schools in Dagenham and Rainham took part, and the nominees were truly inspirational, with many having faced hardship and overcome adversity to become leaders in their community and within the school.
Mary Turner was one of the most dynamic women members of the trade union movement, rising from school dinner lady to become President of the GMB trade union. She challenged the status quo, and was never afraid to stand up for what she believed in.
Penny Robinson London Regional President of the GMB said: "The nominees from each school were fantastic, and I hope that this award will give these young women even more confidence to go out and achieve great things just like Mary did."
The nominees and their schools: Courtney Mahoney – Eastbrook School, Zoe Middleton – All Saints Catholic School, Paige Harris – Robert Clack, Amy Talbot – Harris Academy, Dolly Okeowo – The Warren School, Taylor Ellis-Smith – The Brittons Academy.
The overall winner of the competition was Dolly Okeowo from The Warren School and was chosen by Mary Turners daughter Denise, granddaughter Lisa, and the GMB.
All the nominees received an award and £50 vouchers for Lakeside. The overall winner received a winner's trophy and £150 Lakeside voucher.
Jon Cruddas MP commented: "this is a monumental year for women, the GMB wanted us to create a lasting memory of Mary that would encourage and inspire the next generation of young women. I think this award has done that. The nominees were exceptional and had all achieved great things already in their schools, community, and personal lives. I have no doubt that they will go on to be the local leaders of the future – I'm looking forward to next year!"