THE WOMAN in charge of a Yeadon-based transgender charity has been honoured with an award at a national event to promote diversity.

Susie Green, CEO of transgender youth charity Mermaids, was awarded the Diversity Champion Award in the charity sector of the Excellence in Diversity Awards in Manchester.

She was applauded for expanding Mermaids from a small charity with no paid staff, to four paid staff dealing with 4,000 emails and phone contacts a year.

Susie, whose own daughter underwent transgender surgery as a teenager, joined campaigners and employers who were honoured for their efforts to make the country a more inclusive place to live and work.

Susie, from Yeadon, got involved with Mermaids because of her daughter, and went on to become its CEO. In 2016 she oversaw the opening of its first national office, in Yeadon, to cope with the rapid increase in calls and emails. In the three years preceding the opening calls to the charity had gone up from 199 per year to 1,134, while emails increased from 296 in a year to 1,800.

Susie received her award from Coronation Street star Dean Fagan at the Midland Hotel in Manchester.

After the event she said: "I was honoured to receive this award, however I can only accept it on behalf of the charity Mermaids and the work we do, which enables me to raise understanding and awareness of gender variant and transgender children and young people. I take the responsibility of being the voice of the parents and young people we support very seriously, and will continue to strive for equality and acceptance without prejudice."

Among those honoured Channel scooped the Marketing Campaign of the Year Award for its "We’re the Superhumans" campaign. The advert, which has been watched by millions, paid tribute to 140 people with disabilities - from a man who drums with his feet to a record-breaking wheelchair racer.

The Outstanding Diversity Network Award went to Movement to Work, which in the last year has helped more than 20,000 young people to take part in a life-changing work experience placement.

The awards ceremony also included the release of the rankings of the Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers List- with mental health and wellbeing charity Touchstone taking top spot while Ernst & Young came second, and the Open University was third.

Awards founder Paul Sesay told the audience: "With every news report and article of events happening across the world, it is now even more important than ever to stand together.

"It is your stories and commitment that enable this, so I encourage you to share how you enabled that change in yourself or others, and how every day you inspire hope."