Meet Newcastle’s most inspirational women
Sisters? We’re doing it for ourselves.
Newcastle: the North-Eastern beacon of fun-loving students and three trebles for a fiver. But let us not forget the wonderful girls of this city, who are continuously putting their passions, talents and beliefs to excellent use, in sport, word and deed. These are the true angels of the North.
Rebecca D’Andrea, Fine Art, second-year
A senior member of the ReNewcastle society, where a hierarchy is not imposed, Rebecca has been involved in a multitude of projects. One of these, known as ‘food coop’, is a student run cooperative which aims at providing cheap, ethically and environmentally sustainable food for students (and the wider community) in Newcastle.
Through that, Rebecca met other like-minded people, and together they set up ReNewcastle, a sustainability and environmentalism society. Their focus was to bring all of the separate environmentalist motions in Newcastle into one umbrella society. The society is project based, most recently they have organised Newcastle Go Green week, as well as continuing the work of the food coop, collaborating with VegSoc, the Conservation Society and the Young Greens, as well as supporting the Save Druridge campaign, trying to stop opencast mining in a beautiful part of the Northumberland coastline.
The society aims to get as many people interested and involved in the environmental issues affecting our world right now, for example, how climate change is affecting the migrant crisis. A self confessed dreamer, Rebecca strongly believes in the goodness of people and believes that is what motivates her to protect the environment in which we live.
Emily Ford, Fine Art, fourth-year and Sasha Adwani, Biology, third-year
Team GB Rowers
Did you know Newcastle’s boat club is one of the best university teams in the country? I could honestly have included the name of every girl in the boat club for their grit, determination and positivity in the face of gruelling 5am alarms and intensive training plans. Not to mention the fact that they are all incredibly hard working human beings, and probably skip fewer lectures than I do.
Even when they have been up for 4 more hours, they still make those 9ams. However, these two girls stand out. Women’s Captain (15/16), Emily, and Kit Officer (15/16), Sasha, have taken their passion one step further. Not only do they row for the university, they also rowed in the women’s 8 boat in the World U23 Rowing Championships in Rotterdam last summer, winning silver.
Izzy Wauchope, English Literature, second-year
While many of us were working in cafes and shops, or lounging around seaside resorts, Izzy was doing something productive with her summer. For 3 months in total between first and second year, she worked for the charities Shelter and Marie Curie. Fundraising for both, she was either pounding the pavements for Shelter, a homeless charity, or going door-to-door for Marie Curie, an end of life charity. She spoke with hundreds of people a day, working long hours to raise money for the incredible work these charities do.
Jasmine Plumpton, English Literature, second-year
Animal Rights Activist
After suffering from complicated health issues, Jasmine took the step to go vegan almost 3 years ago. Later, she became interested in the immense ethical benefits of her decision, and now she is involved with Team Tino, an animal welfare group based in South Shields. This project attempts to inform local people of the environmental advantages of being vegan, and to involve people in the Earthlings Project.
She can often be seen leafleting and stickering around Newcastle to promote the vegan message in an indirect and peaceful way! What’s more, Jasmine has a vegan fitness Instagram account, and hopes to set up a YouTube channel under the name of spreading the vegan message, with the hope that it will help people with maladaptive relationships with food to find health and happiness with a plant based lifestyle.
Amy Fok, Zoology, third-year
Amy has been a part of Go Volunteer projects for 2 and a half years. At first, she participated in existing environmental projects, like Student Farm and Guerilla Gardening. However, she began to feel there was more she could do.
Amy’s passion and ideas made her want to direct her own projects and use her own initiative. So she put her interests of collecting ‘rubbish’, craft and environmental issues to good use, and came up with the project ‘A Second Life’.
The aim was to help reduce waster and contribute to the community and environment, while ultimately being a positive influence to others. With the support of the society she has achieved so much: building vertical vertical planters for a community centre, making nest boxes for a hedgehog sanctuary and banner pencil cases for disadvantaged children, running creative workshops with 100 children, and cooperating with Renewcastle Society to promote sustainability. Amy is driven by her beliefs that everyone can aim higher, try everything and have faith in themselves.
Adele Pope, Accelerated Medicine, third-year
A 15 year old, Adele, had the aim of becoming a professional dancer. Enrolled on a ballet scholarship at Arts Educational School in Tring, she was on her way to achieving this dream. However in December 2005, she passed out in the shower, knocking the cold tap off as she fell, meaning she was scalded by the hot water. Her family took her to the local A&E where she was transferred to a specialist burns unit. There it was discovered that she had third degree burns (the worst type) on 42% of her total skin surface.
She immediately underwent 8 hours of surgery to graft skin from her legs to the burnt areas. After 5 weeks and 2 days in hospital, Adele had to spend the next 2 years wearing pressure garments, attending physiotherapy (the way the scars healed meant she could not straighten or lift her right arm) and having dressings changed, before a final operation in 2007 reconstructed her right armpit to restore movement.
As it wasn’t known whether she could go back into ballet after so much time out of training, Adele changed course to a musical theatre class, and focused on getting her GCSEs. She went on to study Natural Sciences at Durham and now studies Medicine here at Newcastle. She aims to become a surgeon, possibly specialising in burns and plastics.
As if this incredible rebuilding of confidence and self esteem into a life she didn’t want, at an age where appearances are everything wasn’t enough for Adele to be an inspiration, this incredible girl has gone one step further. In 2010, she became involved in the Katie Piper foundation, initially appearing on the TV series Katie: My Beautiful Friends. She went on the become an ambassador of the charity, releasing a charity single, raising money at uni and is currently planning ways to bring the charity to the Newcastle campus.
In her own words Adele says ‘Generally, I just want to show people that looking a bit strange isn’t going to stop me from doing whatever I want, and hopefully it will give other people the courage to stick their middle finger up to their own imperfections and insecurities.’ An inspiration to us all.
Anna Ehrlich, Medicine, fourth-year
Organised a charity club night
Anna was a committee member of the UNICEF society last year, and each year each committee member chooses a fundraising event to lead. Anna chose the ‘club night’, and she and her team decided on a 90s disco theme. They were raising money for UNICEF’s Syrian crisis appeal and raised an outstanding £2060.11. After numerous months of preparation, emails, hassling replies, negotiating with the venue (WHQ), organising music, making decorations and printing tickets, the event took place last April, and Anna describes the fun as 100% worth the effort of preparation. The completely sold-out event was recounted by WHQ staff as one of the best opening nights any organisation had ever had. This was also the first time any society had hired the venue itself and clearly had as much 90s themed success as the Spice Girls.
Sophie Glover, History and Politics, third-year
As president of Amnesty International, Sophie and her committee aim to raise awareness for the global human rights charity across campus. The society have organised a wealth of events, some fundraisers and others to educate and inform people about the issues Amnesty International deals with. The society has also been transformed under Sophie’s leadership; in just a year it has grown from 10 members to 60, by introducing a new variety of events, such as ‘Jamnesty’, an open mic night raising over £260. Sophie describes the role as a great way to make even small actions seem positive and have an impact on society. For example, next week the society is holding a demonstration on the quayside to campaign for the government to grant child refugees the right to family reunion in the UK.
Natasha Chalk, Languages, fourth-year
Women for Women
Natasha bought this society to Newcastle after realising that from her relatively privileged background and upbringing she wanted to give something back to the women around the world who are not as fortunate as she is. It struck her that a lot of the activities she and her friends enjoyed would make great fundraising opportunities, such as ‘Come Dine With Me’ evenings, cocktail making and film nights. Women for Women (WFW) is an international charity which supports women in countries of conflict, and helps them to rebuild their lives by empowering them economically and socially.
Sponsorship allows the women to participate in a yearlong program which gives them the tools to rebuild themselves through business and vocational skills as well as sanitary and maternal education. The vision of WFW is to look at sustainable means of growth in war torn areas by helping the most vulnerable with the most potential to thrive: women. Natasha’s favourite part of the charity is the male project: changing the mind sets of the patriarchal society by encouraging men to see the benefits of their wives working and their daughters going to school.
WFW changes not only lives but also mentalities by giving a voice to the women whose voices have previously gone unharnessed. So far, the society, under Natasha’s guidance, have raised over £650 and have sponsored two women to be enrolled on the WFW scheme. An inspirational woman helping to inspire other women.
Inspired by something you’ve read here? There are so many ways you can get involved with the projects mentioned in this article. Contact a society directly if it appeals to you. 11th March marks the start of Newcastle’s inspiring women week, so look out for information about events. Anyone who is interested in campaigning, pop in to the first floor of the SU and speak to the Welfare Officer.
If there are any further inspirational women in Newcastle that you think should be recognised, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or message The Tab Newcastle Facebook page.