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Julie in awards hope

Staffordshire | News | Published:

Health campaigner Julie Bailey, who helped expose the Stafford Hospital scandal, could be named Britain's most inspirational woman.

Julie BaileyStafford health campaigner Julie Bailey could be named Britain's most inspirational woman in a major awards scheme, the Express & Star can today reveal.

The "Cure the NHS" founder, who shot to fame for her efforts in exposing the problems at Stafford Hospital, is in the running for the title of "Most Inspirational Woman 2009" in a Marks & Spencer-backed national competition.

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The 47-year-old is already through to the semi-finals of the contest, which is organised by womens' health charity, Wellbeing of Women.

Ms Bailey was nominated by a complete stranger for her work with Cure the NHS, which draws its support from across Stafford, Cannock and Rugeley. If she makes it through to the finals, the former social worker will be attending a ceremony hosted by BBC newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky in London next Monday.

Ms Bailey has already won M&S outfits for her and her 19-year-old daughter, Laura. If she were to triumph next week, she would also win £500 in M&S vouchers and a luxury break for two, which should prove a welcome prize for a woman who has only taken one day off work in the past year.

Most of Ms Bailey's time is taken up by her campaigning efforts with Cure the NHS, as well as running her two businesses in Stafford - a café and a dog grooming parlour.

However, the Wolverhampton Road resident said she was more interested in the extra exposure that the awards would give Cure the NHS and the ongoing problems at Stafford Hospital - highlighted this week by two new reports released on Thursday.

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She told the Express & Star: "It's fantastic and it's an honour but as far as I'm concerned, the main point is that it's more publicity for Cure the NHS.

"I was absolutely gobsmacked when I heard about it. It was really nice but I just hope it might raise the profile of the group and everyone in it even more."

Ms Bailey, who also has a 26-year-old son Martin, was born in Stafford but moved to Wales in 1983 before moving home to care for her mother, Bella Bailey.

She set up grassroots campaign group Cure the NHS after 86-year-old Bella died in Stafford Hospital in November 2007. Her sustained criticism of management at the hospital was vindicated in March when the Healthcare Commission released a damning report backing her claims of neglect and poor standards at the Weston Road facility.

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