The Barclays Women of the year Award salutes singer, songwriter and philanthropist Annie Lennox, an exceptional and selfless woman who has used her vision to help change the lives of many.
A lot of music you might listen to is pretty vapid, it doesn’t always deal with our deeper issues,’ says Annie. These are the things I’m interested in now,” Those deeper issues for her revolve round peace, poverty, motherhood and, in particular, the devastation wrought by AIDS in Africa. For the past 20 years, she has devoted much of her time to charity, working with Amnesty International, Greenpeace and Nelson Mandela’s 46664 Foundation, and in 2008 she was awarded the British Red Cross’ Services to Humanity Award.
It’s all a far cry from her time as one half of the Grammy Award-winning Eurythmics or her glittering solo career. But although she has sold more than 80m records, she has had dark times. In 2008, she revealed in an interview on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, that her devotion to charity was inspired by the stillbirth of her son. At the same time as I lost my son, thousands of people died in a village in Turkey after an earthquake. Curiously enough, I identified with those people. It made me realise that life truly is temporary and when I hear about people’s tragedies, I so empathise with them.’
Last year, Annie released a special fund-raising single called Sing, the proceeds from which went to the Treatment Action Campaign, an organisation that provides much-needed support in the struggle against HIV/AIDs in Africa. She is also a leading fund-raiser for Mothers to Mothers, a South African charity which trains mothers who have AIDs to work as a core part of the medical teams dealing with newly-diagnosed women, sharing their experience to help them through the emotional and practical rollercoaster of living with the disease.
She is currently working with Oxfam to create the Circle ñ a group of influential women who come together to look at ways they can make a real impact on poverty around the world.
Deanna Oppenheimer of Barclays with Annie Lennox
Photo: © Women of the Year