A WIGAN mum’s tireless campaigning against domestic violence has landed her the nomination for a top national award.
Sheila Fairhurst, whose 19-year-old daughter Carly’s life was ended by an abusive partner, has thrown herself into charity work and projects which aim to save the lives of present and future victims.
And later this month she will be at a gala dinner held at Raymond Blanc’s Brasserie Blanc in London, having been shortlisted for the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize.
This prestigious accolade is bestowed in memory of a woman who changed the face of British law.
As a 17-year-old Emma, who had endured all manner of abuses as a youngster, was convicted and jailed for the murder of her pimp Trevor Armitage. After a long campaign by supporters, the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction and substituted a manslaughter charge, signalling her instant freedom.
Sadly, Emma died from an accidental drugs overdose three years later but the law has looked on the cause of battered women who retaliate far more favourably ever since.
Two prizes are available each year: one to an individual and one to a group which have done “inspirational work to end male violence.”
Sheila, from Hindley, said she was both “shocked and honoured” to be considered for an award and was very keen not to take all the credit.
The 55-year-old said: “I have done everything with my husband Trevor and really the nomination should be for the both of us. I am the quieter one of the partnership too.
“But I am flattered and delighted to have been considered. We don’t do this for the personal recognition - we do it to highlight the plight of domestic violence victims and keep Carly’s memory alive and I hope that the nomination will do this.”
Sheila was nominated by Abby Ogier from the charity Barnardos who saw the couple give a talk about their personal plight - Carly had denied to them that boyfriend Darren Pilkington had been attacking her in the months before her death - at a domestic violence conference at Leigh Sports Village earlier this year.
Since Carly died the Fairhursts have also raised many thousands of pounds for the counselling arm of Wigan Victim Support and Witness Service.