THE Hillsborough families were today (Monday 17 October 2016) awarded the Women of the Year Special Award at the Women of the Year Lunch & Awards at the InterContinental London, Park Lane. The special award was given to the families in honour of the 96 people who lost their lives as a result of the Hillsborough football stadium disaster on 15 April, 1989. When the Inquest delivered its conclusion in April 2016, it revealed to the whole nation that the Hillsborough families were right to have persisted in their search for truth and justice. Jane Luca, who lives in the North West and is Chair of Women of the Year, said “The mothers, sisters, daughters and aunts deserve to be recognised as our Special Women of the Year for working tirelessly for 27 years to establish the truth of what happened at Hillsborough. This award also honours those mothers who have died before seeing justice done.” The FA cup semi-final game between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest was being played at the home ground of Sheffield Wednesday. The disaster resulted in a number of safety improvements in the largest football grounds, notably the elimination of standing terraces in favour of all-seater stadia, and the removal of spectator fencing, introduced to prevent pitch invasions. Margaret Aspinall, the chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, whose son James died in the 1989 tragedy, received the Women of the Year Award on behalf of the families and in honour of the 96 people who died as a result of the disaster. Prime Minister Theresa May presented the award to Margaret on behalf of the Hillsborough families. The PM said: “It was an honour to present “The Women of the Year Special Award” to the Hillsborough families today. Having lost their loved ones in the most appalling circumstances, they then spent 27 years searching for the truth with extraordinary dignity. “This April, when the fresh inquests delivered their conclusions, they made clear to the whole nation what the Hillsborough families have known to be true from the beginning – that the fans were blameless. “Thanks to their resolve we now know the truth about what happened that day. This award is for all those who lost their lives at Hillsborough and their families who have shown immense courage and determination.” Sandi Toksvig, President of Women of the Year, said: “For over 60 years, Women of the Year has proudly recognised and celebrated the achievements of some of the world’s most incredible women. These women range from the super famous to unsung heroines who are the backbones of charities, industries and indeed every profession possible. The remarkable women who make up the attendees and winners at this year’s Lunch are being recognised for their work making the world a better place.” There were many familiar faces amongst the attendees, with guests including Noma Dumezweni, Lynn Faulds Wood, Denise Gough, Dr Katherine Grainger CBE, Sheila Hancock, Nadiya Hussain, Lorraine Kelly OBE, Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE, Maureen Lipman, Judy Murray, Susannna Reid, Sandi Toksvig OBE and Alix Wilton Regan. The ceremony was hosted by Women of the Year President, Sandi Toksvig and the awards were presented by Sharon Osbourne, Joanna Lumley, Lacey Turner, Joely Richardson, Vanessa Redgrave and Katie Derham. The Women of the Year award winners were chosen by a judging panel of outstanding women: Sandi Toksvig CBE, Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE, Ronke Philips, Sue Walton, Maureen Lipman CBE, Andrea Coleman, Anne Aslett and Rt Hon the Baroness Tina Stowell of Beeston MBE.