Inspirational mum wins top award

Sheila Fairhurst (right) receives her Emma Humphreys award at the ceremony at Brasserie Blanc, London. Below - daughter Carly

Sheila Fairhurst (right) receives her Emma Humphreys award at the ceremony at Brasserie Blanc, London. Below - daughter Carly

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A CRUSADING Wigan mum has told of her joy after landing national honours for anti-domestic violence work.

Sheila Fairhurst, whose 19-year-old daughter Carly was killed by her abusive partner, is this year’s recipient of the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize.

Carly Fairhurst

Carly Fairhurst

She and husband Trevor attended a glittering gala dinner at Brasserie Blanc in London to discover that the Hindley 55-year-old had triumphed.

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.”

The Fairhursts have thrown themselves into charity work, raising countless thousands for the local Victim Support service but have also figured high in promoting anti-domestic violence policies and causes.

Sheila admits she was very nervous about attending the ceremony, her husband usually does most of the public speaking.

But she said she found herself in such friendly company that the acceptance speech went very well and she even managed to ad lib.

And as to the award itself, she said: “It is a terrific honour. I can’t really express what it is like to be chosen for what we do.

“The main thing of course is that it further helps to raise awareness of domestic abuse.”

Sheila was presented with her certificate and glass plaque by the actress Ashley McGuire who later sent a message to her on Facebook which read: “It was lovely to meet you last night. You were really brave. You have made a lasting impression on me.”