Joanne’s top honour

Joanne Thompson Woman of the Year with Lorraine Kelly
Joanne Thompson Woman of the Year with Lorraine Kelly

A courageous woman, who has been responsible for providing life-saving first aid training for thousands of people, has been named as Inspirational Woman of the Year.

Television viewers voted for Burnley-born Joanne Thompson to become Lorraine Kelly’s Inspirational Woman of the Year after hearing about her campaign to make it law that all childcare staff receive adequate first aid training. Joanne was presented with her award at the prestigious Woman of the Year Award on Monday.

Joanne, who is a former pupil of Padiham Primary School and Ivy Bank High School, Burnley, said: “I feel amazing, it is just fantastic to have won such an award.’’

And on the same day Joanne received the honour it was announced that she and her husband Dan are to become parents again in February. Judges and viewers were moved by Joanne’s story of how she founded Millie’s Trust, named in memory of her baby daughter who tragically choked to death at a private nursery in Cheadle Hulme October, 2012, aged just nine months old.

Identifying the importance of paediatric first aid courses for all nursery staff, Joanne and Dan, along with a team of fully trained volunteers, now plan and host child and baby first aid courses for anyone, including parents and grandparents aswell as nursery workers.

Over 5,000 people across the UK and Ireland have received first aid training and in June this year the couple, who live in Wilmslow, took their campaign to the heart of the Government, meeting with ministers to make their mission, which includes compulsory first aid training for all schoolchildren, law. The Trust has become so successful that an office was set up to deal with the hundreds of emails that flood in daily and wellwishers have raised thousands of pounds to help out. The Trust’s Facebook site also proved to be a lifesaver after Joanne posted details of spotting the signs of meningitis. A mum saw the signs in her child and was able to get her to hospital in time for lifesaving treatment.