More than 100 women from across Yorkshire took part in a special event focussed on the unique challenges they face in the “middle years” and beyond.

A star studded line up of celebrities and experts took part in the event at Goldsborough Hall near Knaresborough – in a fun and frank celebration of the 45-plus generation and how growing older impacts on women. The event also raised a fantastic £1,420 for the Little Princess Trust.

Women from 45 to 90 years old took part in the “Find Your Midlife Magic” event which featured the actor and writer Gaynor Faye and celebrity stylist Andrew Barton. Speakers tackled topics ranging from society’s expectations of older women through to mental and physical well-being as well as style, hair and fashion.

The event was the brainchild of four inspirational women: model and body image guru Rachel Peru, model and fashion events producer Bernadette Gledhill, TV personality Annie Stirk and journalist and TV presenter Christine Talbot.

The Yorkshire based friends, who have often worked together over the years, were all experiencing the unique challenges facing women in midlife themselves.

During the day Emmerdale and Fat Friends star Gaynor Faye (pictured above), who recently appeared in Channel 5’s whodunnit drama The Inheritance, spoke for the first time publicly about her life after the sudden death of her mother, the acclaimed screen and stage writer Kay Mellor.

She talked about how the loss of her mother, who founded the Leeds based Production company Rollem, had affected her family and her determination to continue the legacy. Gaynor shared her plans to take the successful series The Syndicate, about a group of lottery winners, on a stage tour next year - making her directorial debut on the tour.

Other guests included the motivational speaker Lisa Clifford who carried out her famous “arrow challenge”, campaigner Manraj Sanghera who spoke about how grief over her son’s death made her change direction in her life, and broadcaster and writer Dr Jane Gilbert who answered the audience’s health queries.

The winners of a makeover competition 53-year-old Becky Capstick from York and Linda Thompson, 69, from Wakefield, were also transformed by the celebrity stylist and “Ten Years Younger” star Andrew Barton and Leeds based British Hairdresser of the Year Rob Eaton, together with clothes and make up by Chris Hartley and the style team at John Lewis Partnerships in Leeds.

An emotional Becky said that having lived in jeans for years running a farm and caravan park near York, she now had the confidence to visit her daughter in New York.

Linda, a retired occupational therapist who returned to work during Covid, wanted to a new look for her 70th birthday next year and to celebrate the Golden Wedding anniversary she once thought she’d never see. Linda saved the life of her husband Malcolm with CPR when he collapsed and “died” in front of her seven years ago. Using her nursing CPR skills she resuscitated him until help arrived and he went on to make a full recovery.

A tearful Becky said: “It’s been the most incredible day, thanks to the wonderful makeover team I feel 20 years younger, and I can “see” myself again. I’d been worried I would let me daughter down. Now I feel ready for anything.”

Linda said, “What a very special a day! I’ve made friends for life! Age is just a number and I’m refusing to be told what I should be and look like - for me Old is Bold!”

Organiser Rachel Peru said: “This day has been beyond all our expectations. The response has been quite overwhelming. We are blown away by the comments we’ve had and the sense that something special was happening in the room.”

Annie Stirk said: “We feel we created something very special today. You could feel it in the room. Everything we did today was born out of our own strong friendship, which is something we really value, and it was wonderful to share that with so many lovely fun and empathetic women”

Bernadette said:” The day felt magical from the moment we stepped into the room. What an incredible day of friendship, inspiration and love shared by our speakers and guests. It is a day I will always remember.”

Christine Talbot said:” We can’t thank everyone enough for their support in making this such a wonderful, empowering, and inspiring day. Everyone involved, from Goldsborough Hall, our speakers and technical teams to those who donated such fabulous raffle prizes, and especially our wonderful audience of women has made this very special.”

Find Your Midlife Magic also raised £1,420 from a raffle for the Little Princess Trust, which provides real hair wigs for children who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment or other health conditions.

*Photos: Kate Mallender *