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April Ashley Given ‘Woman Ahead of Her Time’ Award

April Ashley named ‘Woman Ahead of her Time’ at The Oldie of the Year Awards 2018.

April Ashley has just been given the title of ‘Woman Ahead of her Time’ at this year’s The Oldie Awards. The Oldie magazine’s annual ceremony, which took place in London this year on Tuesday 30th January, celebrates the achievements of the older generation over the last year as well as their careers.

In May 1960, April Ashley was one of the very first Britons to undergo sex-change surgery. The operation sparked more than 50 years of campaigning for transgender rights and equality, and has made a notable contribution towards raising awareness of these issues.

Ashley was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to transgender equality.

On her website, Ashley said of the decision to undergo surgery:

In Paris, I debated with myself the decision to have a sex change. It was a hard decision. I knew I would be pioneering a dangerous operation. The doctor told me there was a 50/50 chance I would not come through. However, I knew I was a woman and that I could not live in a male body. I had no choice. I flew to Casablanca and the rest, as they say, is history.

April Ashley was not the only winner at the ceremony. Other winners at the event included:

  • Oldie of the Year Dame Vera Lynn (100)

  • Oldie Political Legend of the Year Shirley Williams (87)

  • Oldie Drama King of the Year Alan Ayckbourn (78)

  • My Dear Oldie Thing of the Year Henry Blofeld (78)

  • Oldie 21st Century Fox of the Year Basil Brush

  • Palmer d’Or Oldie of the Year Geoffrey Palmer (90)

Guests to the event included Judi Dench, Rachel Johnson, John Lloyd and Maureen Lipman.

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