Finalists for inaugural County Durham & Darlington women in business awards ANNOUNCED

Published 06/04/2023
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A group of businesses have come together with County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDFT) Charity, to create the inaugural ‘Celebrating Women in Business’ awards taking place at Hallgarth Hotel & Golf Club on May 4th, 202, and the finalists have been announced!
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The event will be compered by local voiceover artist Emma Hignett, the voice of London’s buses and the brand new Elizabeth Line. The awards has a headline sponsor, Linthorpe Pharmacy and the evening will incorporate a fashion show from House of Zana founder, Amber Kotrri, with special guest speaker Charlotte Staerck, founder of The Handbag Clinic.


The judging panel, made up of Dame Dela Smith DBE DL, Sarah Bentley CEO Morrison’s Trust and Ruth Lowbridge MBE Chair of SFEDI Group, met to review the entries before submitting their choices.


The finalists:

Rising Star, sponsored by Fresh Digital

  • Amelia Macmillan Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College
  • Andrea Graham Uniform Supplies Ltd
  • Izzy Hubbert St John's College

Future Leader, sponsored by BTS Facades & Fabrications

·       Beth Reid The Cornforth Partnership

  • Hannah Malik Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College
  • Jess Fairley Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College

Newcomer of the Year, sponsored by Contractor Match

  • Donna Sandall  Donna Sandall Family Law
  • Katharine Matthews The Absolute Word

Impact in the Community, sponsored by High Life North

  • Debbie Iceton Five Acres Community Garden CIC
  • Sarah Rose Skerne Park Community Partnership
  • Catherine Evans    The Cornforth Partnership

Innovation in Sustainability, sponsored by Darlington Business Club

  • Marcia Atkinson BTS Facades and Fabrication
  • Sarah Jane Eco Salon

Hidden Hero, sponsored by Resilient Business Systems

  • Helen Smaldon Orca Cleaning Services Ltd
  • Maria Perek Clive Owen LLP
  • Paige Williams AAA Caring Caretaker Ltd

Inspirational Female Leader, sponsored by Utility Warehouse

  • Alison McCree  Synchronicity Care Limited
  • Alison Stephenson  AAA Caring Caretaker Ltd
  • Beryl Hankin  Guru’s Boutique
  • Margaret Bradshaw  Red Button Marketing & Training Limited
  • Marion Marsland  Thermal Insulation Contractors Association (TICA)
  • Sarah Jackson  EMG Solicitors
  • Sue Jacques  County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust
  • Tracey Tyler  Focus Mental Health


Pat Chambers, charity development manager at CDDFT Charity said: “We are lucky to be supported by so many businesses across Darlington and County Durham and, after speaking with them we realized that there was a gap in the market for an awards event celebrating women in our area – competition has been tough and we’re excited to see who comes out on top.


“This year is the 75th birthday of the NHS, so we’re particularly grateful to be working with Darlington Business Club and their local business connections, who are helping to bring the awards to life. All proceeds are being donated to CDDFT Charity, to help enhance patient and community care across the Trust’s extensive geographical area.”


The event is being held at Hallgarth Hotel & Golf Club with arrival drink and canapes, a two course meal, fashion show, key note speakers and of course – the awards themselves! On arrival, attendees will be able to peruse stalls from local independent businesses, all being coordinated by Amber Kotrri.


The organising committee is made up of CDDFT Charity, Hallgarth Hotel & Golf Club, Darlington Business Club, Peachy Digital, Amber Kotrri and Resilient Business Solutions.

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About The Author

Peachy Digital is a fun and slightly sassy marketing agency working with a wealth of clients across the UK and in several industries, with a specialism in food & drink. We work across the full marketing mix, both on and offline, and services include social media management, PR, email marketing, content creation and strategy development. Our fundamental ethos is marketing ‘without the fuzz’ – no jargon, no nonsense, just clearly defined strategies that deliver. We believe in working in a way which is relaxed and friendly while remaining completely professional – you won’t find us in power suits but you can be sure we’ll develop high quality marketing communications that will work towards our clients’ business goals.

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