THE work of inspirational women in Basingstoke was recognised in a parliamentary debate by the town’s MP.

Maria Miller, MP for Basingstoke, celebrated the work done by women in the town during her speech in the House of Commons debate Vote 100 and International Women’s Day on Thursday last week.

During the debate, the MP said: “In Hampshire we are incredibly privileged to have one of only four female chief constables in the country, Olivia Pinkney, who is doing an incredible job of running one of the largest police forces in the country.

“The chief executive of the local hospital in Basingstoke, Alex Whitfield, succeeded another female chief executive, to make sure we have some of the best health services in the area.

“Basingstoke is one of the top 10 centres of business in the south-east, and it is local businesswomen in smaller businesses who I find incredibly inspiring—people like Beryl Huntingdon, who runs a business to support other businesses.

“When I look at my local charities, I see it is often women who are not just helping to run existing charities—people like Evelyn Vincent, who was a founder member of Headway Basingstoke—but setting up new charities.

“I think of women like Charlie Porter, who set up the Muffin’s Dream Foundation to support families with disabled children, Catherine Waters-Clark, who founded Inspero to help children understand where their food comes from and how they can cook it, and Mary Swan, who is the artistic director of my local producing theatre company.

“It does not stop there.

“It is people like Jo Stoker of St Michael’s Church who keep our churches running.

Basingstoke Town ladies football team plays in the FA women’s premier league south-west division, and I am hugely proud of the fact that they are doing extremely well.

“By recognising women who are doing things in other roles and walks of life, we can help to ensure that young women in our schools realise that the only thing that limits them in this world is their imagination.”

The Vote 100 section of the debate was to highlight the 100th anniversary of the first women being granted the right to vote in the UK.