Derby’s Finest Celebrates Women’s Roles Across The City

Derby’s Finest – a new group which aims to celebrate and support women who make a positive contribution to the city – was officially launched with an event at Derby College’s Engine Shed restaurant at the Roundhouse in Pride Park.

The group has been formed by Claire Twells from Smith Partnership solicitors, April Hayhurst from Derby College, Bev Crighton from the University of Derby and Amanda Strong from Mercia Image Print in Little Eaton.

Fifty women from a wide range of organisations and businesses attended the inaugural event to hear about plans for future events and about the chosen charity for the year – Prostate Cancer UK. 

The first event raised nearly £300 for the charity and the target is to grow this to thousands over the coming year.

Derby’s Finest was inspired by a feature in the Derby Telegraph – Inspirational 250 – which included some of the top female business leaders in the city and county.

Organisers now want to spread the membership wider across the local community to reflect the diverse and important roles that women hold and the positive impact they make in the city.

Claire Twells explained: “Our aim is to make Derby’s Finest a group that celebrates, inspires, encourages and supports women from across our local community. 

“We were delighted with the response to the inaugural event and now want to widen the focus to bring together women from all walks of life in a wide range of roles.

“This diversity reflects the multi-facets to women’s lives from at work, home and leisure with the commonality that we all make a difference to our local communities in many different ways.”

April Hayhurst continued: “There are so many unsung heroines in our city and our pledge is to seek these women out, recognise their value and to celebrate their outstanding support and selfless contributions that have had an impact on people’s lives – whether that is to an individual, a business, an organisation or a community.

“The committee are looking for other women who can help make a difference.  As an organised force, Derby’s Finest can set out to change some of the areas of need and develop a support network to share the vast and varied wealth of knowledge and skills to promote females in all walks of life.”

Amanda Strong added: “We can all benefit from a strong support network but it is particularly important that we work together to inspire and encourage the future generation of females to believe that can achieve and thrive as an equal in all areas of society.”

Bev Crighton concluded: “We felt it was important to adopt a charity as part of Derby’s Finest work and chose Prostrate Cancer UK which affects thousands of men every year.

“This not only supports a charity that benefits the men in our lives but it is also in recognition that it is often women who encourage them to face their health fears and to see their GPs.”

Among the women attending the event was Derby-born fashion and textile designer Saima Majid.  Having worked in London for 14 years – designing for such global brands as Laura Ashley and Monsoon, she has returned home to set up her own business – designing a range of luxury scarves.

Saima has designed a scarf especially for Derby’s Finest with a donation from every sale going to Prostrate Cancer UK.

She said: “I think this group is a fantastic idea to bring together women from all walks of life.  Derby is the perfect place to set up my own business as it is a city buzzing with creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.”

The next event will be on Wednesday July 12 at the Women’s World Cup match between England and New Zealand at Derbyshire County Cricket Club.  For more information and to book a place, please contact