Exmouth’s newly-crowned Woman of the Year, Lisa Woodcock, hopes the award will promote her work raising awareness of organ donation.

Lisa won the Gamechanger award on Monday, October 16 for her tireless campaigning for people to sign the organ donation register and make their wishes known to their families.

She herself had a life-saving liver transplant in 2021 after becoming gravely ill with a rare, aggressive auto-immune liver disease. She now promotes the work of the British Liver Trust and gives personal, one-to-one support to other people awaiting an organ transplant.

Lisa found out that she was one of three finalists for the Woman of the Year Gamechanger award during a surprise live appearance on the ITV Lorraine show on Monday, October 9.

Exmouth Journal: Lisa being hugged by Lorraine as she arrives on setBut - coming back down to earth after a 'whirlwind' week - she told the Journal she had truly not expected to be announced as the overall winner at the awards ceremony.

She said: “I hadn’t prepared for that, I really hadn’t. It was very overwhelming.

“But all week the three of us – I’ve made two great friends with the other two finalists – we’ve all been repeatedly saying all three of us are winners, to have that level of coverage all week has been huge for our causes, and the award was just the icing on the cake.”

The Women of the Year awards are run by a not-for-profit organisation with the aim of recognising ‘extraordinary ordinary women’ from all walks of life whose ‘determination, bravery, skill, passion and spirit’ make an inspiring difference to people’s lives. The Gamechanger award was promoted by the Lorraine show. The other two finalists were Anna Kennedy, who works to provide education and support for children and adults with autism, and  Krystle Akinsemoyin who set up a youth club for local teenagers in Cornwall.

Lisa described the awards ceremony as ‘amazing’. She said: “Everybody wanted to be there, everybody was genuinely happy for each other. It was a pleasure and a real privilege to be there among these people, they were fantastic. Lots of famous faces of course, but then also people who are just doing tireless work for many different causes. It’s life-affirming when you hear such positive stories, it makes you feel that people are doing good in the world, and that’s what’s important.”

Lisa's Woman of the Year Gamechanger award will raise her profile as a campaigner, but she said giving her personal support to people is just as important as reaching a wide audience.

She said: “I will absolutely continue to do everything I do, I think it’s really important not to change it, because it’s on a very personal level - I speak to people one to one in the transplant community and that’s the support that’s really needed.

“But any opportunity that comes my way that allows me to be the voice for the community of rare disease and liver disease, and shout out about at British Liver Trust and everything they can do that can help people in my situation, and to be able to encourage people to have organ donation conversations, I’m absolutely going to do what I can.”

She also praised the work of fellow Exmouth organ donation campaigner Steve Gazzard, who has been raising awareness of the cause since his daughter Sarah died in 2012 while awaiting a double lung transplant. He regularly has a stand at local events and in Exmouth town centre, while Lisa does a lot of her campaigning on social media.

She said: “He’s amazing in everything he’s done since he lost this daughter Sarah. It’s great that we cover it from cover it from different angles - the way he raises awareness and the way I raise awareness are totally different, and that’s really important because we’re going to be reaching different demographics.”

Lisa's appearances on the Lorraine show have already reached a huge audience, and she has received a large number of messages from people saying they signed up to be organ donors after watching her interview.