safety campaign -WPS founders Ken and Amaka Lawton toast sponsors who supported the fundraising dinner

A campaign to increase safety for women and girls has received a major cash boost after supporters turned out in force to an event at Rookery Hall, Nantwich.

There was a full house for the first Women Peace & Security (WPS) Foundation fundraising dinner which raised more than £7,000 for various initiatives to safeguard women and girls from mental and physical harm.

A donation will also be made to Nantwich Christie Hospital Support group.

Guests which included businesses, volunteers, Cheshire East Mayor David Marren and Cheshire High Sheriff Jeannie France-Hayhurst enjoyed a memorable night of food, music and dance.

There was fast-fire bidding for auction prizes donated by South Cheshire businesses including an overnight stay at Rookery Hall, Crewe Hall spa day, Lake District holiday, Jepsons designer clothing and gloves signed by boxing legend Johnny Nelson donated by Alpha Omega Securities owner Ken Lawton who wore them during his kick-boxing career.

Mr Lawton, who founded WPS with his wife Amaka (pictured, above), said: “We are deeply grateful to our sponsors who made the night possible and to all those who attended.

“We are busy gathering in all the proceeds but to date the night has made a tremendous £7,400.

“In this cost of living crisis we know people don’t have bottomless pockets so to welcome some 150 people was truly humbling and demonstrates the ground swell of support there is for making society safer for women and girls.”

Ken and Amaka Lawton of the WPS Foundation with Cheshire High Sheriff Jeannie France-Hayhurst and Ch
Ken and Amaka Lawton of the WPS Foundation with Cheshire High Sheriff Jeannie France-Hayhurst and Cheshire East Mayor David Marren

Guests heard about the aims of WPS and how the new organisation has won the support of Cheshire Police and local authorities since being founded in the spring.

It is driving forward with safety measures including free self-defence classes for women which have drawn many participants to sessions at Beechwood Primary School.

There are plans to introduce SOS personal safety alarms, marshals to prevent trouble flaring at local taxi ranks and WPS Street Angels to protect vulnerable people at night.

Other key aims for 2023 include the introduction of Ambassadors in schools, colleges and universities and an education package and theatre production, instilling good behaviour and respect towards women from a young age.

Amaka said: “The WPS Foundation is a culmination of my childhood rebellion against the relegation of women and girls.

“Remarkably in this high tech age it still exists and all too often that warped mind-set spills over into physical and mental harm.

“It’s all around us, on the streets and in the workplace and home.

“I have been truly heartened to see so many people want to bring about change by attending our meetings and joining us as volunteers over the past few months.”

Amaka Lawton and WPS Foundation volunteers
Amaka Lawton and WPS Foundation volunteers

The evening’s guest speaker was Cathy O’Dowd, a mountaineer who told how teamwork helped her conquer Everest.

Amaka added: “Our Foundation will rely on the teamwork of the whole community, so we would love to hear from anyone who can support our aims.”

Cheshire East Mayor and Nantwich Town Cllr David Marren commended WPS on its work.

He said: “The safety of women, and other vulnerable people, is something we should all be concerned about. It is morally only right.

“The WPS Foundation is a very worthwhile cause dedicated to this and has already delivered benefits to the local community and beyond.

“I am inspired by what it has achieved in its first year and its ambitions moving forward.”

Table sponsors on the night included Alpha Omega, Applewood Independent, Auxilium, Bathgate Sand, Henshall insurance, Lyon Griffiths accountants, Mann Roberts solicitors and The Royal Oak pub.

To get involved as a WPS volunteer or Street Angel call 0300 365 9223 or email [email protected]

The hosts with the evening’s key sponsors
The hosts with the evening’s key sponsors
Ken Lawton and his boxing gloves donated to the fundraising auction - safety campaign
Ken Lawton and his boxing gloves donated to the fundraising auction

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