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keeley donovan

Celebrating The Work Of Five Inspirational Local Women

Started in 1909 in New York City, International Women’s Day has grown across the world as a way to respect the economic, political and social achievements of women. It was adopted by the United Nations in 1977 and this year’s theme is ‘Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030’.

Keeley Donovan

Well-known in the area for her work on the BBC, Keeley grew up near Tetney and is the daughter of former professional footballer Terry Donovan. Born in 1983, she studied at Humberston School before gaining a BA at De Montfort University in Leicester.

With a passion for journalism, she studied a postgraduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism at the Grimsby Institute. Having freelanced for the BBC across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire since 2005, she co-presented Break-in Britain in 2015 and is now co-presenter of the popular Countryfile Diaries.

Helen Fospero (née Morton)

Born in Cleethorpes, Helen grew up in Grimsby – attending Whitgift School – leaving before her 18th birthday, when she began her career on Fleet Street. In 1989 she was appointed home news editor for Sky Television and had a variety of roles across eight years before heading to GMTV as a showbiz correspondent.

In 2003 she married American television producer Carl Fospero and they live in London with their son and daughter. Since then, she has been a co-presenter on Look North, Sky News Sunrise, GMTV and Daybreak and currently works as a reporter on Watchdog and The One Show. She’s also spent time helping raise millions of pounds for Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation.

Joanne Clifton

Best known for being one of the professionals on Strictly Come Dancing, Joanne was born and raised in Waltham – where she (and brother Kevin) were taught ballroom and Latin dance by parents Keith and Judy Clifton.

Competing since the age of four, she has won titles in Britain and across Europe, and has appeared in a number of musicals including Face the Music and Norma Jean The Musical. She is currently touring as the main character in the multi-award winning comedy Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Brenda Fisher

The daughter of a trawler skipper, Brenda grew up in Scartho, learning to swim when she was nine-years-old. She broke the women’s English Channel record by more than half an hour when she became the 23rd swimmer to go from France to England in 1951.

This accolade saw a crowd of thousands welcome her back to Grimsby. She then did the 29-mile River Nile Swim, beating the previous record and shaved more than two hours off the Lake Ontario swim from Niagara to Toronto, completing the 32-mile route in less than 19 hours. Her biography, Blonde In Deep Water, was written by former Grimsby Telegraph news editor Lucy Wood in 2015.

Dame Madge Kendal

Born Margaret Robinson, in 1848, Madge was a key part of English comedies and was integral as a theatre manager. Reportedly the youngest of 22, she was home-schooled and read Shakespeare from an early age. Her first role came in The Struggle for Goldin 1854 and by 1865 she was playing adult roles in London.

Her peak years came from 1868 when she joined J. B. Buckstone on tour for six years. From here, she enjoyed numerous successes before leaving for the Opera Comique and Court Theatre before making her debut in America in 1889. After retirement, she was active with theatre charities and was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1926.

How can you get involved?

There are a few events in Hull this week to mark the occasion under the banner of WOW – a festival of events that was found at the Southbank Centre in London in 2010 and takes a look at aiding girls and women reaching their full potential.

Interested in a qualification about Equality and Diversity? Our distance learning courses are free for people who have lived in England for the last three years and are 19 or over.