AN inspirational Tamworth businesswoman who set up a charity which has helped more than 15,000 children escaping domestic violence has been praised by the prime minister.
Karen Williams was one of three remarkable women singled out as an inspiration by Theresa May when she appeared as a finalist in the Lorraine Show’s Woman of the Year yesterday, Monday 15 October.
Earlier, Lorraine Kelly had dubbed Karen an ‘amazing woman’ while TV presenter Hilary Jones called her work with The Buddy Bag Foundation ‘fantastic’.
Karen set up the Buddy Bag Foundation in 2015 and the charity sends 12 essential items to children when their world has changed beyond recognition as they flee domestic violence. One of those items is a teddy bear called Buddy.
Theresa May said: “People often assume it’s famous women from history or a big player on the world stage who are my inspiration.
“But it’s not, it’s women such as Karen who are doing extraordinary things and helping children, not for any fanfare, which helps make this country the great place it is.”
Karen, whose charity work is often based in Sutton Coldfield and Tamworth, has now overseen some 15,060 rucksacks packed with love by volunteers at ‘Buddy Bag brigade’ events and delivered to women’s refuges throughout the UK.
She was one of just three brilliantly inspirational finalists chosen by judges for the annual competition run by the breakfast TV favourite. The winner was Andrea Smith who founded a football academy in Swansea for youngsters with autism.
Karen was speechless when she was surprised by presenter Dr Hilary Jones while she was on holiday with her partner Sean in Dubrovnik.
Karen then told viewers: “The shocking thing is there are more than 48,000 children in emergency care in the UK every year year.
“We are sending them bags of love and aim by 2020, to have delivered 20,200 Buddy Bags.”
Lorraine paid tribute to Karen for such a ‘great, practical and common sense idea but filled with love.’
Karen thanked everyone who had voted for her and said she’d very much appreciated the opportunity to ‘put BBF on the map.’