LOCAL mum Julie Walker mingled with the stars when she picked up her Tesco Mum of the Year Award at a glittering ceremony in London.
Julie, 43, travelled to the capital to attend the ceremony at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel where she was presented with the Tesco Magazine Achieving Mum of the Year Award by actress Lucy Benjamin.
She was given the award for her dedication to the Katie Walker Cancer Trust charity which Julie set up with husband Micky after their 20-year-old daughter Katie died of the disease in 2007.
Katie’s dying wish was that her parents did everything they could to help other young cancer sufferers and through honouring their daughter’s wish, Julie has helped raise tens of thousands of pounds to fund vital cancer research as well as helping local families blighted by the disease.
Collecting her award, Julie said: “As long as I keep my daughter’s memory alive, that is what matters.
“She’s here with me every day.
“This award is for Katie – she is my inspiration, I’ve done everything because of her.”
Nominated for the award by Katie’s best friends, Julie and the other winning mums were treated to a stay at The Waldorf Hilton Hotel and given an expert makeover before heading down the red carpet to a gala lunch.
The presentation ceremony followed, with musical performances from Beverley Knight, new male group The Overtones and former X-Factor winner Shayne Ward.
The Tesco Magazine Mum of the Year Awards were hosted by TV presenter Fiona Phillips and attended by a host of celebrity names, including the Celebrity Mum of the Year, Sally Dynevor, who plays Coronation Street star, Sally Webster.
Julie described the event as being ‘absolutely fantastic’ and enjoyed meeting the numerous celebrities in attendance.
She said: “It was very overwhelming and I did get a bit emotional when they played a video of Katie and then Micky talking about me.
“It was a lovely event and I felt very honoured to be a part of it.”
Julie rubbed shoulders with stars including radio presenter Sara Cox, actress Emilia Fox, former England Rugby player Matt Dawson and singer Shayne Ward among others.
“It was great to meet all these people but they were so down to earth it didn’t feel like they were famous,” said Julie.
“They all wanted to interact with the mums so it was a case of the celebrities coming to find us rather than the other way round!
“It was a real honour meeting Sally Dynevor and her family, she was absolutely lovely, and Sara Cox was too - she even offered to do some work for the charity in the future.
“They were all wonderful and added to the whole occasion, it was just such a lovely event.”
The celebrations continued as Julie and the other winning mums were whisked off to Westminster the day after the ceremony, where Emily Thornberry MP entertained them in the House of Commons before they headed home.
Julie said that the Katie Walker Cancer Trust continues to go from strength to strength and is still looking for local families with youngsters affected by cancer to get in touch and benefit from the charity’s support.
“We’re having a meeting in May with other cancer charities and we are looking to expand the work of the Trust,” said Julie.
“We will make a difference on this earth if it’s the last thing we do!”
Julie’s final treat for winning the award will be a one-week holiday to Cyprus in June, courtesy of First Choice and the Cyprus Tourist Board.