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9 inspiring women for #IWD2022

Here are this year's leading ladies who've caught Muddy's eye in Devon, spanning the diverse worlds of fashion, fitness, theatre, arts and social inclusion.

Raising awareness around hormonal health

Pic credit: Chlo Hodgkinson

Congrats to women’s health support coach and social media agency owner, Chlo Hodgkinson, aka The Period Party Girl, who has just scooped a 30 Under 30 win from Devon Chamber. Sharing her journey on disordered eating and amenorrhea via her instagram, she transformed from being a calorie-counting fitness trainer, to being a poster girl for ditching the diet and focussing on fitness. Her regular insta-posts on hormonal health, recently picked up by The Telegraph, encourage followers with #beforeandafter pics, only in a refreshing reversal of the usual.

Golden girl and small biz entrepreneur  

One of the UK’s few goldsmiths, the talented Isabella Day has just been selected as one of Small Business Saturday UK’s top 100 female entrepreneurs for 2022, heading off to London to talk business with the toffs in the House of Lords. Isabella who is currently based at Cockington specialises in rare Kinko metalwork and is opening a new store in Dartmouth’s Foss Street. She’s on Muddy’s Little Black Book of brilliant business in Devon, naturally.

Making organic cool for 20+ years

Multi-award winning organic restauranteur Geetie Singh-Watson MBE waved the flag for eating ethically long before it became fashionable, founding the UK’s first organic gastropub, The Duke of Cambridge in Islington waaaaay back in 1998. She’s stayed true to her principles while showing the world it’s possible to be ethical and be a successful business woman with her latest venture, The Bull Inn, a 9-bed eatery on Rotherfold Square in Totnes. Planet-friendly right down to the cotton in the bedsheets, if she can find a greener way to do it, she does it.

Providing a platform for young performers

The Baywatch Babe, turned Countess and doyenne of Powderham Castle is all about supporting young aspiring artists – having seen the pressure from the inside as a young actor herself playing Rayanne Graff on the US series, My So-Called Life. Powderham Live is her annual autumn event connecting, supporting, empowering and promoting teenage artists from Teignbridge, offering workshops and mentor support throughout the year, culminating in a performance in the beautiful music room at Powderham Castle.

Fighting for ethical fashion

Pic credit: Kalkidan Legesse

Ethical clothes store owner, Kalkidan Legesse of Exeter’s Sancho’s, flies the flag for organic and ethically-made sustainable fashion and eloquently promotes body positivity, LGBTQ+ and black women in business on her social media. Recently featured on BBC’s Bossing It: Fighting for Fashion, she’s aiming to raise a cool £1 million to create a revolutionary app selling second-hand clothing with the aim of paying a commission to the original retailers and encouraging shops to stock longer-lasting clothes.

Saving Devon’s theatrical heritage

Pic credit: Palace Theatre

Maureen McAllister and Deirdre Makepeace, are an intrepid pair, two friends who knew each through jobs in tourism marketing, who stepped up to the plate in 2018 by taking on the lease on Palace Theatre Paignton. They’ve come through lockdown, still smiling, having doubled bums-on-seats in just four years. Their love for the ‘Grand Old Girl’ shines through in everything they do – from their sheer hard work running the Box Office and making the nosh for their many events, to their ingenuity in luring top comics and shows to the stage. Ladies, you rock!

Honouring Devon’s forgotten Land Girls

Pic credit: Becks Pearson

When former Royal Naval Officer, Becks discovered the 1700-plus women who volunteered in Devon’s Women’s Land Army in WW2 weren’t listed anywhere she decided to take action, and now she’s on a mission to create a Roll of Honour to ensure their contribution to the war effort is honoured. Via her facebook page, Devonshire Landgirls, she’s actively searching to find as many of ‘the gals’ who served in Devon. She also gives talks on the subject, the next one is Friday 29 April at Toby’s Garden Festival.

Making social inclusion work

Pic credit: Real Ideas Organisation

A WISE100’s social enterprise leader, Lindsay Hall, Chief Exec of Plymouth’s Real Ideas Organisation may not be a name you know but you’ll probably have heard of at least one of her many art and social-inclusion initiatives, from the autumn Illuminate Festival, to the new 360 Immersive Dome to the Ocean Studios at Royal William Yard. Since its launch in 2007, RIO has raised a whopping £1.26m to renovate the county’s heritage buildings, and secured £498,122 investment for local business, while creating social change and helping scores of young people into education and work.

Giving us running inspo

Pic credit: Jo Pavey

Next time you put off going for a run, think of Jo Pavey, five-time Olympian and mum of two, Jo Pavey, the only woman to have competed over 1500m, winning the 10,000m gold medal at the European Championships in Zürich just ten months after giving birth to her second child. Inspo indeed. New for 2022, Jo is now an ambassador for Running at 40 Plus, a running community, dedicated to runners of all abilities and experience over the age of  40.

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