Jewish Care has bestowed its Woman of Distinction Award this year to psychologist and writer Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton – who also happens to be the Chief Fire Officer of the West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.
The award ceremony was held online with Cohen-Hatton in conversation with CNN journalist Caroline Richenberg, with 125 guests attending virtually for an event that raised more than £21,000 for the charity’s Sidney Corob House residential home.
Cohen-Hatton adds to a long list of distinguished award winners such as Dame Esther Ranzen, Lady Nicola Mendelsohn, Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger and former Labour MP Luciana Berger.
This year’s winner has already led an extraordinary life, dealing with personal challenges such as homelessness as a teenager, selling the Big Issue when not attending school, saving up to get secure accommodation, and gaining the confidence to join the Fire Service aged 18.
Asked what advice she had to women who may be worried about these uncertain times, she said: “You are stronger and more capable than you think you are.” Richenberg said: “You are a hero for many of us and a true inspiration.”
Danielle Hess and Danielle Lipton, co-chairs of the awards committee, said: “She is such an inspirational figure to so many. The contributions she has made to her field and the wider community are formidable.”
The charity’s fundraising director Adam Overlander-Kaye said: “The Award is a highlight of our calendar and we were so pleased to be able to hold the ceremony online this year.”