Cookstown pensioner Maud Kells named Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year

Maud Kells
Maud Kells

The Cookstown missionary who was shot by bandits in DR Congo has been crowned Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year 2015.

Maud Kells, who was also awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list, scooped the title at the newspaper’s celebration of outstanding women from across Northern Ireland.

Speaking at Thursday night’s event, the inspirational 75-year-old said: “It is such a surprise, honour and privilege.

“It has been an honour to work in the Congo all these years.”

See also - Video: Cookstown missionary Maud Kells on her return from DR Congo

Maud added: “I speak at a lot of ladies’ meetings in Northern Ireland about Africa and if that encourages women and inspires them to go on to do things, it pleases me.”

Maud in DR Congo

Maud in DR Congo

The Belfast Telegraph reported on their website that Maud was chosen because the judges were so impressed by her “bravery, tenacity and selflessness”.

Belfast Telegraph editor Gail Walker chaired the judging panel, which also included freelance writer Maureen Coleman, head of Ulster Bank Ellvena Graham and former Woman of the Year in Fashion Maureen Martin.

Ms Walker said: “Maud is an outstanding winner.

“She is an inspiring lady and it was a unanimous decision by the judges to give her the overall title.”

Maud is an inspiring lady and it was a unanimous decision by the judges to give her the overall title - Gail Walker

Maud Kells with a local in DR Congo

Maud Kells with a local in DR Congo