FOUR East Lancashire women have been nominated for this year's prestigious Lancashire Woman of the Year Award.

The four, all from the Ribble Valley, will find out if they have won the award at a special ceremony next Wednesday.

Penny Green, of Sawley, has been nominated for her charity fundraising work. She is the chairman of the Ribble Valley Ladies' Luncheon Club, which has raised over £250,000 for research into childhood cancer from a series of celebrity dinners.

Gisburn businesswoman and mum Helen Colley, 36, founder of award-winning pudding manufacturer Farmhouse Fayre, has been nominated for her entrepreneurial skills and commitment to staff.

She launched her pudding-making business from her mother's kitchen 18 years ago and now employs 20 workers. Her company was also named New Business of the Year in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph Business Awards 2002.

Lilian Hargreaves, proprietor of the Mytton Fold Farm Hotel, Langho, was nominated for a phenomenally successful farm diversification.

Her pig herd was devastated by swine fever and, after diversifying into bed and breakfast accommodation, she is now proprietor of one of the Ribble Valley's leading hotel and conference facilities.

The fourth nominee is Julia Watson, of Clayton-le-Dale, a partner in Roebuck's Solicitors, Blackburn and a specialist in family law, as well as being a deputy district judge.

The Lancashire Woman of the Year Award was started in 1989 to honour exceptional women from all walks of life, from foster mums to sportswomen.

Past winners include the former chief constable of Lancashire, Pauline Clare and this year there have been 40 nominees from across the county.

More than 300 women from throughout the county are expected to attend on Wednesday at the Stirk House Hotel, Gisburn.