MWOTY Where Are They Now: Roz Tranfield

When beauty therapy salon owner Roz Tranfield was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, she refused to take it lying down. Instead she fought to transform a negative turn in life into a positive, as she set about helping other women in her situation through fashion , fundraising and mentoring. It was this work that led her to be named Merseyside Woman of the Year in 2016.

Hello Roz, it’s been a while! For those who weren’t there in 2016, remind us about your winning year…

It all started when I found out I had breast cancer. It was a tough time, obviously, but I was most shocked by how people spoke to me after my diagnosis. It wasn’t malicious, it was people not thinking. I had people coming into my salon, the Roz Tranfield Beauty Centre, and asking “If you die, who will be doing my eyebrows next year?” and saying things like “I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. My friend died of that last year”. 

All that negativity made it hard to face what I was going through. When I’m scared or nervous I tend to distract myself by helping other people. So, that’s what I did. I started sharing techniques of how to respond to those kinds of situations, mentoring women in a similar situation to me. I’d always made sure my business was bedded into the community and even before my own diagnosis I had some clients who had cancer. I’d invite them out for coffee, just to chat and give them support. This was the same thing but on an even bigger scale. Word got round that I was the go-to for advice on dealing with diagnosis and that’s how it all began.

Soon there were loads of us – we called ourselves ‘Roz’s Warriors’. Many of us, myself included, were being treated at Clatterbridge Hospital. I decided to create something that we could all collectively focus on and help the hospital charity too. Something to take our minds off cancer. So, in 2015, I lead the organisation of our first charity fashion show. We raised £35,000 in the first year and after that the target continued to climb.

How did you feel when you were announced as the overall Merseyside Woman of the Year?

I’d been stunned when I won the ‘Woman Making a Difference’ category, which came earlier in the day and had been decided by the judges, but I knew the overall winner was decided by a public vote. I’m rubbish at promoting myself or asking people to vote for me, so I thought I was done for the day. I didn’t even hear my name being called.

Everyone on my table jumped up and screamed, while I just sat there looking at them as if they were mad. Then I realised and I got so emotional. It was amazing.

So where did things go from there?

After the first fashion show, loads more people got in touch about getting involved. Women who had been in the audience who had been diagnosed with all different types of cancer, women who’d had terminal diagnosis, people at all stages of their journey. So off we went. We had shows in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

We even had one in 2018, after my husband, Paddy, was diagnosed with bowel and liver cancer. He had his operation in July and was strutting his stuff by October. Along with other activities, like charity afternoon teas, 100k bike rides and raffles, we’ve raised about £170,000 for the Clatterbridge Cancer Charity to date.

I’ve won a few more awards now as well. A few months after MWOTY, I was named overall champion at the ScottishPower ‘Your Champions’ awards. When they first called I thought they were trying to get me to switch power suppliers, until they sent me an email to prove otherwise!

Last year I was also named Fundraiser of the Year at the Echo awards. I was especially surprised by this one as we took a break from the shows last year, after Paddy’s liver cancer returned. He had treatment last year and he’ll be back with me for this year’s fashion show.

We look forward to seeing him back on the catwalk soon. On the subject of health, how are you doing?

I’m currently cancer free and just have annual check ups, which is great, but I do have a rare autoimmune disorder called Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP). It was discovered while I had cancer, so I’m still at the hospital a fair bit. Fortunately, planning for the 2020 fashion show is taking my mind off things!

Oh go on then, tell us all about it…

Well, this year’s fashion show will take place on 6th November at Thornton Hall. Tickets will be available from my salon and a number of supporting shops including, Wrogue & Wrobe and The Front Room in West Kirby, and House of Charles and Mark Melia Designs in Liverpool

The lovely Leanne Campbell from Radio City will be our compère for the evening and we’ll have performances from dancers from the Liverpool Theatre School.

We want to sell tickets but we’re also looking for donations and sponsorship to put towards the organisation of the event. The fashion show costs around £5,000 to put on. We’re already selling raffle tickets in the shop to go towards that cost and if we can get that covered off, everything we make on the night goes to the Clatterbridge Cancer Charity. If you’d like to help, I’m all ears – just drop me a line.

Tickets for the fashion show cost £20 each and you get a goody bag with that as well – an absolute bargain for a fantastic evening!

We’re there! So, do you have any pearls of wisdom for other women working hard to fundraise for good causes like yourself?

Don’t do it on your own, rope in some friends and share the burden. I can be hard on your own, but working as a team you can do anything. Also, get the backing of the charity that you’re supporting, get an official letter and keep evidence of what you’ve already done, like a fundraising CV – that proof that you’re the real deal and that they should support you.

Excellent suggestions, now we know why people come to you for advice! Could you tell us what type of woman people should nominate for this year’s MWOTY awards?

You know those women who work hard to help others without any recognition? The ones whose names are always popping up as having done this or that for so-and-so? The ones that aren’t promoting themselves, they’re just getting on with what they do?

Nominate them. Pick them out and push them into the spotlight. They won’t squander the title, they’ll know exactly how to use it to do even more to help other people.

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