THE PEOPLE’S CHAMPION
Boots pharmacist Halima Khaled, 46, from Nottingham is a dynamo whose generous spirit has helped thousands, most of whom she’s never met. The mother of three founded a branch of Wellbeing of Women in 2003 and raises money for dozens of causes, including £40,000 for the Pakistan Flood appeal.
She volunteers in a group to prevent violent extremism and helped set up a helpline for Muslim women who have been raped, beaten and forced into marriage.
‘Last year, a woman approached me saying her husband had raped their 12-year-old daughter,’ says Halima. ‘i helped her to escape to a refuge and built up her confidence to the point where she is looking for a job.
‘She is safe, and so are her children. i hope that the helpline will be able to change many other lives, too.’
Katie Piper’s life changed forever in March 2008 when she was attacked on the street by an assailant who threw acid into her face, blinding her in one eye. the beautiful, blonde 27-year-old model and TV presenter from London was in hospital for seven weeks, undergoing pioneering plastic surgery.
‘When I first looked in a mirror, I didn’t recognise myself,’ she says. ‘I had no hair and my face was covered in stitches, cream and bandages.’
The remarkable young woman overcame this trauma and set up the Katie Piper Trust to raise money for burns victims.
‘i received the best treatment from cutting-edge medicine and wanted others to get the same chance,’ she says.
‘This week, I took a girl horrifically burned in a house fire 20 years ago to have eyelids tattooed on her face. I wanted her to see that being burned doesn’t mean you can’t be attractive.’
THE BRAVE POLICE OFFICER
Isabella McManus, 46, an MoD police sergeant from Dalry, Ayrshire, was the first female British police officer to serve in Afghanistan’s dangerous Helmand province.
There, she was shocked at the lack of support for the few brave women who dared to join the Afghan national police.
‘There were such low expectations of these women,’ she says. ‘They risked their lives to fight the Taliban and yet they were treated with contempt.’
Isabella took it upon herself to train and mentor these new officers, developing them into a female police division whose aim is to address community policing and crimes against women and children. in her spare time, she organised first-aid and firearms training and even designed uniforms for the women officers.
Recruits grew from five to 48. Isabella has since returned home to normal policing duties and her 21-year-old son, but her legacy in Afghanistan lives on.
THE LOCAL HEROINE
Come rain, snow, hail or sleet, 71-year-old Pauline Stabler turns up three times a week with a cheery smile to open the hall for the youth club that she founded and helps run in Norton Canes, Staffordshire.
The retired grandmother, who has battled cancer and a triple heart bypass, set up the club ten years ago after realising there was little available to keep the young people of the village entertained and out of trouble.
Now, there are 200 children on the club register, and Pauline also runs holiday clubs and raises money for new equipment.
‘Some of the teenagers have told me that if they didn’t have the club, they would be out on the streets,’ says Pauline.
‘If every village and suburb in the country could do the same, I think it would help to change society for the better.
‘I don’t get to bed until nearly midnight after closing the club, but I am so busy that I don’t have time to think about my age. Helping young people keeps me young.’