Shara is among women honoured

THE FOUNDER of Newham’s Ascension Eagles cheerleaders was among women honoured at a star-studded ceremony.

Shara Brice, 41, established the group 15 years ago to provide a positive activity for young people in the borough.

The Ascension Eagles, based at the ExCeL centre, Royal Docks, are now ranked as Britain’s best and in the world’s top one per cent. Shara was named winner of Women of the Year’s ‘You Can’ award at a lunch in Central London.

She is pictured right with fellow winner, singer-songwriter Annie Lennox.

Said Shara: “It was an incredible experience, to be surrounded by hundreds of inspirational women, who have each changed the world for the better. It was very humbling and I felt uncomfortable being singled out to win this award.

“When I realised that by accepting it I was doing so on behalf of thousands of girls, that changed everything.’’

Shara added: “Ascension Eagles are about ordinary people working together to achieve extraordinary results. I accepted this amazing award on behalf of hundreds of young people, who are led by dozens of gifted coaches, who are committed to giving back to their communities.

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“I accepted this award on behalf of the Mums, who scrimp and save to put their children first... I accepted it on behalf of our funders and supporters, who continue to invest in the lives of our young people’’.

She said that as the organisation celebrated their 15th season, they were working towards getting a permanent home, “where we can increase the quantity and quality of our outreach.”

Zaha Hadid, who heads her own architecture practice, scooped the Outstanding Achievement Award. Her work will form the centrepiece of the 2012 Olympics following the selection of her design for the Aquatic Centre, which has been described as the ‘Gateway to the Games’.

Annie Lennox was honoured for her campaign to remove the stigma associated with HIV in South Africa. Other big names at the lunch included Julie Walters, Lulu, Maureen Lipman and Fiona Bruce.