Popular Harehills restaurant owner nominated for Woman of the Year attends glitzy London awards show

A restaurant owner from Leeds who was nominated for Woman of the Year on ITV's Lorraine attended the glitzy awards show in London - meeting a huge array of celebrities including the presenter.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 4:45 pm

Maureen Wilkes, 63, has owned the popular Maureen's Caribbean Takeaway since 2003.

She is a community stalwart and loved in the area surrounding the Roundhay Road premises.

During the Covid lockdown, determined Maureen selflessly made food from the kitchen for key workers, emergency services, nurses, doctors and the community.

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Maureen Wilkes with Lorraine Kelly Pic: Maureen Wilkes

She was nominated by her proud daughter Miriam for the award for her incredible work.

Last Monday morning (Oct 4) - during Lorraine's show - a reporter visited Maureen at the restaurant to surprise her with the news.

Many members of her family and the community awaited outside with flowers and congratulations as an emotional Maureen was interviewed.

Now, Maureen has told the YEP about her trip to London to attend the show at The Lancaster London.

Maureen Wilkes with Suranne Jones Pic: Maureen Wilkes

Despite not walking away with the award, Maureen still said she felt "like a winner" due to the support of the public and her friends and family.

On a social media post to celebrate her attendance, she said: "I would like to thank everyone who voted for me for the Woman of the Year Award.

"Although I did not win, I still feel like a winner from the support I received from you guys.

"I had a wonderful day in London having lunch with Lorraine Kelly a a few celebrities.

"Thank you to my girls for nominating me, it has been an amazing week."

Maureen described Lorraine Kelly as a "lovely woman" and said her trip was "amazing".

Speaking to the YEP on Monday afternoon following the nomination, Maureen said she was "grinning ear to ear".

Maureen added: "I was in total shock.

"It was the first I had heard of it [when the reporter came].

"I am overwhelmed."

Maureen said she really wanted to help those in need during the difficult lockdown period in the city.

She said: "I have been feeding people for years, I just thought 'let me do something'.

"Those who did not have anything, I wanted to give something."

After receiving hundreds of messages of congratulations, Maureen said she was honoured to receive the nomination - among thousands to the show.

She added: "It was so nice to help out and feed people.

"If I have food to give, I don't mind giving it.

"Everyone needs to eat."

Maureen's daughters - who nominated her - told Lorraine she had "a really big heart".

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