Cumbria Family Business Awards

Felltarn Friends at the Cumbria Family Business Awards.

No, you’re right – we’re not a family business! We’re not actually related (though we are mistaken for sisters on quite a regular basis)… But that would never stop us relishing the opportunity to get involved. The fabulous team at the Cumbria Family Business Awards came knocking at our door asking us to get creative and design something special for the 300+ guests at the ceremony. Yay! New project – love it.

Family Tree…

We decided to share the Felltarn Friends/Cumbria Family Business Awards love and commission a very talented artist and close friend, Mandy Dixon to create the illustration on our behalf. Mandy works predominantly in watercolour and has an eye for bold and beautiful designs. She came up with a gorgeous family tree design incorporating the purple of the awards branding to tie in with the event. The blank heart spaces on the tree can be filled in with family members’ names, and then the picture can be framed for a lovely decorative keepsake. Perfect!

The Awards…

On March 9th 2018 at The Garden at Eden on the outskirts of historic Carlisle, Claire and I were welcomed to the awards not just by a whole host of wonderful people (I’ll tell you all about them later), but by the sight of the Lakes Gin Tin mobile gin bar. Absolute heaven for me! Yummy. Walking through to the foyer, not only were we presented with a selection of fizz, but the most beautiful tree filled with polaroid pictures capturing images of the finalists between twinkling fairy lights. This tree had been hand picked by the Cumbria Family Business Awards team and brought to the venue from Orrest Head in Windermere – quite a mission but well worth it.

Official photos courtesy of brilliant photographer and friend of ours Victoria Sedgwick followed the welcome drinks. Victoria captured the night to a tee – the fabulous frocks and tuxedos (as well as some more adventurous suits), the excitement, anticipation and celebrations all caught on camera.

Wonderful People…

Bumping into Ben Berry and Nevil and Amy Jeffrey of English Lakes Hotels is always a pleasure. We had a good catch up about the exciting renovations at the iconic Low Wood Bay resort and told them about the delicious smoothies we tried before Christmas in their new foyer area. It’s a great space to relax, enjoy a drink or light lunch and look out at that stunning view across Windermere towards the Langdale Pikes. Later in the evening, Ben picked up the award for best Large Leisure and Tourism Business on behalf of the English Lakes Hotels group. Well done!

Jules and John Natlacen, proprietors of the Churchmouse at Barbon are fellow parents at the school our children attend and were also finalists at the awards. Not only do they run a delightful cafe, deli and bistro in the village, but John puts together the most wonderful cakes constructed of whole cheeses, decorated with all sorts of fruits, chutneys and crackers. Had a good natter over prosecco with these two –  they also happen to be stockists of our greetings cards!

Our Table…

Venturing through to the ceremony room, we caught sight of the family trees that Mandy designed for us – on every. single. place-setting. 301 of them delicately positioned around every table for each guest. An absolutely stunning sight and such a proud moment for us to see our creative collaboration presented as a gift to all these wonderful people!

On our table, ‘the Gallaghers’, (every table named after a famous family) we were excited to see many familiar faces! From Annette Ritson of Net* Marketing (who is a fellow EVA winner), and her husband, to Jayne and Dan Scott of PHX Training who happen to be winners at last year’s Cumbria Family Business Awards. Also, friends and associates of ours, Nick and Cheryl Hood who own The Ravensworth Guest House in Windermere as well as Nick being the event co-ordinator for the North West Hospitality Show and Lake District Wedding Fair, and of course renowned local artist Daniel Cooper and his beautiful wife Harriet. The prizes for Family Business of the Year and Employee of the Year were framed original paintings by Daniel and they were very deservingly won by Pioneer Food Service and Lynn Logan of Heart of the Lakes respectively. Daniel Cooper will be Artist in Residence at Brantwood this year, a beautiful and inspiring place – well worth a visit.

The Host…

The Cumbria Family Business Awards were billed to be hosted by Cumbrian international superstar, Dave Myers of Hairy Bikers fame. Unfortunately, at the 11th hour, Dave was deemed too ill to attend… but never fear! His trusty sidekick and partner in hairy-bikerness, Si King was at hand to save the day. And what an awesome host he was! Funny, friendly and full of enthusiasm for Cumbrian family businesses, he really was the perfect host – despite his non-Cumbrian Northumberland roots (we won’t hold that against him).

16 awards were won – all absolutely deservedly and to rapturous applause, cheers and whistles. Here’s a link for information on all of the winners. (Photos are quite good too!)

The Organisers…

And who put together this fabulous celebration of Cumbrian families and their businesses? None other than the dynamic duo Janett Walker and Sophia Newton of Windermere based PR company Flock, alongside Sue Howorth, founder and director of The Family Business Network (and she just happens to be the North West’s Director of the Year 2017). What a force to be reckoned with? Between the three of them I don’t think there’s a business they don’t know in Cumbria, and they have this knack of getting the right people together and putting on a damn good show. It really is quite a magical combination of business nous, creative genius and lots of fun to make the Cumbria Family Business Awards a truly unmissable event.

We chatted to and danced with so many wonderful people at the awards, it’s an incredibly positive reminder of the impact family businesses have on not just the local, but regional and national economies. We were just one of many, many sponsors who came together to add a little something to the event, and we are massively humbled by the vast array of achievements made by so many inspirational family businesses in this picturesque corner of England.

Nominations for the 2019 Cumbria Family Business Awards open in October 2018, and for more information just pop on to the website.