Coventry and Warwickshire finalists join Lionesses among those announced for sixth inspirational women awards

Coventry and Warwickshire finalists join Lionesses among those announced for sixth inspirational women awards

Ladies First awards
The awards judges/ Photos by Karen Massey Photography.

INSPIRATIONAL achievers from Coventry and Warwickshire have been named among the finalists in the sixth Ladies First Network Business and Inspirational Women Awards.

Finalists, selected from hundreds of nominations from across the UK, were invited to an independent judging day at Mallory Court Country House Hotel & Spa in Leamington, ahead of a prestigious awards ceremony at Dallas Burston Polo Club, in Southam, on June 13th.

New categories are also among those being contested this year, including Sustainable Business Leader, Trailblazer of the Year and Inclusivity Leadership with a special Inspirational Women Award going to The England Women’s football team, The Lionesses.

Ladies First awards
The Lionesses are to receive The Inspiratonal Women Award . Photo via Getty Images)

The Awards were unveiled at The House of Commons in January and are headed up by Ladies First directors Tracey McAtamney from Balsall Common and Karen Massey from Leamington.

Tracey said: “With over 300 nominations entering this year, each and every finalist should be exceptionally proud of their achievements.

“We strive to make every finalist feel special and like a winner, with goodie bags, certificates and professional head shots on interview day. A huge thank you to Mallory Court, the Awards Team, all of our judges and sponsors Edwards Wealth Management Ltd, Alsters Kelley Solicitors and Pertemps for a fabulous day!

“We are beyond excited to announce that we are presenting our 2024 Inspirational Woman Award to the England Football Team.

“The Award is in recognition of their outstanding leadership which embodies true spirit, determination, unity and excellence. Also, for their profound impact on the world stage, inspiring and capturing young hearts around the globe!”

Finalists from the Coventry and Warwickshire area are:

Elinor Perry

Business Woman of the Year (Sponsored by Edwards Wealth)
Elinor Perry – Pentlands Accountants and Advisors, Leamington
Jackie Allan – Revolve, Leamington
Jaide Ellery-Martin – Jaide’s Stage Studios Limited, Rugby
Louise Adkins – Share Haulage, Rugby

Lai-Yee Cheung

Trailblazer of the Year (Sponsored by Alsters Kelley Solicitors)
Helen Morton – Helen Morton Advocacy, Leamington
Lai-Yee Chung – Sanjay Foods/IXL Event Centre, Southam
Naomi McKeever – Naomi M Makeup, Coventry

Hannah Teale

Sustainable Business Leader:
Hannah Teale – Diffuse Retail, Warwick
Lyn Lapworth – ECO for ALL, Arlescote
Claudine Pearson – Rubbish Friends, Stratford
Amanda Bourne – Tree-v Limited, Nuneaton (based in Coventry)

Tracy Evans

Inclusive Leadership (Sponsored by Ash Family Law)
Anja Kozerski – Audley Binswood, Leamington
Tracy Evans, Pertemps Network, Meriden

Vicky Farmer

Business Resilience Award (Sponsored by Affiniti Search)
Emma Sansom – Flamingo Marketing Strategies, Leamington
Clare Everest – Everest Fitness, Health & Wellbeing Centre, Southam
Vicky Farmer – Feelgood Factor, near Atherstone
Jo Williams – Joco Interiors Limited, Nuneaton

Bianca Rodrigues-Perry

Outstanding Entrepreneur Award (Sponsored by Chalmers News PR)
Bianca Rodrigues-Perry – Bia’s Kitchen Show, Leamington
Arabella Arkwright – Hatton Country World, Warwick
Sharon Varaitch – Build & Conquer, Warwick

Tina Riley

Family Business of the Year (Sponsored by Benussi Law)
Tina Riley – Modern Homes, Leamington
Andy and Ann Hawkins – Franklins & Hawkins Funeral Directors, Coventry
Michael and Karen Mogan – Mogan & Mogan, Coventry
Tracey McCabe – Talentwise Solutions Limited, Coventry

Siobhan Lewis

Rising Star & Future Leader Business & Insirational (Sponsored by Bia’s Kitchen Show)
Siobhan Lewis – Jewson, Leamington

Joanne Maddison

Start-up of the Year (Sponsored by Audley Binswood)
Emma Field – Harmony at Home, Leamington
Naomi Weetman – Paintbox Blooms, Kenilworth
Bianca Rodrigues-Perry – Bia’s Kitchen Show, Leamington
Joanne Maddison – Maddisons of Warwick
Emma White – My Optician, Coventry

Perm Bassi

Excellence in Technology & Innovation (Sponsored by Nomuda)
Perm Bassi – Unique Therapies, Warwick
Becky Patel – Tech She Can, Coventry
Louise Campton – Primary Goal Limited, Coventry

Jenny Davis

Excellence In Health & Wellbeing (Sponsored by Air Aesthetics)
Jenny Davis – Arts Uplift, Harbury
Laura Dee-Patachi – Laura Dee Counselling and Psychotherapy, Stratford
Lisa Devine – Therapy and Fitness Centre, Leamington
Julia Senah – Almond Care, Nuneaton

Kirsty Heath

Wellness Coach of the Year
Kirsty Heath – KH Bespoke Therapy, Bishops Tachbrook
Doroteya Goundry – Mission Nutrition Coaching, Southam
Lily Cook – LCD Sports Therapy and Yoga, Coventry
Pallavi Prasad – Positive Power Coaching, Coventry

Jo Meakin

Excellence In Professional Services (Sponsored by Pertemps Network Group)
Katie Wilber – Cotswold Connected, Stratford
Jo Meakin – Audley Binswood, Leamington
Natalie Ellis – Rebox HR, Rugby
Sarah Van Ristell – Armstrongs Chartered Accountants, has offices in Nuneaton and Coventry

Richard Smith of Feed The Hungry

Campaign of the Year (Sponsored by Richard George Tailoring)
Coventry Foodbank/Feed The Hungry team, Coventry
Gabrielle Back – Savers Charity, Baginton

Cathy Wahlberg

Charity of the Year & Community Champion (Sponsored by Therapy & Fitness Centre)
Peggy King – ILEAP Charity, Kenilworth, Leamington and Stratford
Amanda Harris – Change Grow Live, Leamington and Wellesbourne
Cathy Wahlberg – Dassett Pottery Clay Club CIC, Southam
Naomi Rees-Issit – OurJay Foundation, Rugby

Jo Wheelwright-Horne

Volunteer of the Year
Emma Baker – CoppaFeel, Hampton-in-Arden
Jo Wheelwright-Horne – Sunday Lunch Club, Stratford
Amanda Burford – Packmore Estates, Warwick
Safeena Mohamed, foster carer, Coventry

Holly Nixon

Networker of the Year
Holly Nixon – The Athena Network: South Warwickshire, Warwick
Larissa Redman-Windsor – Southam Business Community CIC, Southam
Sarah Darby – Alsters Kelley Solicitors, Nuneaton

Anita Dinnes

Business Consultant/Coach of the Year
Anita Dinnes – BCSL Consulting, Stratford

Steven Bazell

Business Man of the Year (Sponsored by Pertemps Network Group)
David Blick – Warwickshire Gin Company, Leamington
Richard Gunton – Richard George Tailoring, Leamington
Steve Bazell – That Gin Company, Warwick
Jon Burgess – Jon Burgess Wellbeing, Leamington
Robert Singleton and Gavin Leach – Windmill Hill Brewing Company, Leamington

David Blick

For the full list of finalists visit: https://ladiesfirstnetwork.co.uk/

This year’s awards are also supporting The Giles Trust Brain Tumour Fund, established in 2015 by former England cricketer Ashley Giles MBE and his wife Stine, who was diagnosed with three brain tumours over 12 years. The charity raises funds for research, pioneering equipment and support for patients.

To enquire about sponsorship opportunities contact Tracey McAtamney at: tracey@ladiesfirstnetwork.co.uk

Review: Hotel Indigo Bath and city highlights

Review: Hotel Indigo Bath and city highlights

After a busy few hours of retail therapy and sightseeing in the beautiful and bustling city of Bath, it is important to have somewhere comfortable to rest up and reflect on the joys of the day.

Set in a handsome honey-coloured Georgian Terrace, Hotel Indigo Bath is the perfect base from which to explore the city. The Grade 1 listed boutique hotel soaks up the history, romance and literature, which can all be enjoyed just a few steps away.

Hotel Indigo Bath, Thermae Spa

The hotel’s communal spaces and each of its 166 rooms have a contemporary design which reflects the influences of the architects and novelists who made Bath famous for its storytelling and passionate social scene. These include ‘Romance & Mischief’ rooms, ‘Literary Hideaway’ rooms, ‘Architectural Beauty’ rooms, ‘Garden’ rooms and ‘The Vaults’. I rather enjoyed the quirky Alice In Wonderland style theme of my Superior Master bedroom while still managing to maintain the opulence fitting of the hotel’s luxury four star credentials.

Our rooms were equipped with comfy Hypnos beds with luxury Egyptian cotton linen, spacious spa-inspired bathrooms, high speed Wi-Fi and a variety of channels to enjoy on a 40” flat screen TV – for those with the time!

Hotel Indigo Bath, Thermae Spa

I appreciated – and took full advantage of – the in-room complimentary mini bar containing beers, wine, soft drinks and water, as well as a plentiful supply of hot drink sachets and Nespresso coffee machine with pods and biscuits.

While taking a few minutes out from the busy schedule of a weekend tourist to enjoy the refreshments while admiring the historical views from my chaise longue, I felt the stresses of modern life begin to ebb away.

When fully refreshed, it is an added bonus to discover the hotel’s central location makes it incredibly easy to enjoy most of the city’s sights, from medieval Bath Abbey, Roman Baths, Pultney Bridge and breathtaking Royal Crescent to the modern-day galleries, museums and eclectic shopping scene.

Hotel Indigo Bath, Thermae Spa

When it’s time for some well-earned sustenance, there seems no shortage of excellent chain and independent restaurants dotted throughout the city. But we were invited to stay a little closer to ‘home’ and sample the hospitality of The Elder Restaurant and Bar.

With access both from the street and via the hotel, it is independently run and owned by restaurateur Mike Robinson with a focus on sustainability, seasonality, locally-sourced and wild produce. This is also where our delicious breakfast was served. Hotel guests can also have a drink and snack at the bar throughout the day.

This proved to be a sumptuous yet informal dining experience as well as a culinary journey of discovery from a knowledgeable and passionate team who take the time to describe the ingredients and dishes as they’re presented to us.

Hotel Indigo Bath, Thermae Spa

If, like us, time is precious during your short city break, be sure to prioritise with a bit of self-indulgence in the form of Bath’s famous Thermae Spa.

Many people’s incentive for visiting the city (although there is SO much more going for it), is the spa’s rooftop pool where you can enjoy spectacular views over the city and its surrounding hills. From someone who’s been lucky enough to enjoy a goodly number of spa experiences, this one is truly unique.

No wonder then that we struggled to drag ourselves away from this calm-inducing oasis. Be sure though to check out the Spa’s other multi-sensory wellness suites, including an Infrared Room, invigorating Ice Chamber, Aroma Steam Rooms and even a Celestial Relaxation Room with heated loungers.

Hotel Indigo Bath, Thermae Spa

In the basement, you can find the Minerva Bath, incorporating whirlpool, massage jet and gentle lazy river.

Both Minerva and the Rooftop Pool are fed by the naturally warm, mineral-rich waters that gave the city its name. The water fell as rain around 10,000 years ago and then sank to a depth of about 2kms below the Earth’s surface. Here it is heated by high temperature rocks to an estimated 69° Centigrade (156° Farenheit) before rising back up through one of the three springs in the centre of the city.

I could have happily settled in here for the rest of the day – but there was too much exploring to be done and too little time.

Hotel Indigo Bath, Thermae Spa

Spa towns have inspired literature through the years, and none more so than Bath which plays a central role in books by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Mary Shelley amongst others. Jane Austen resided in a number of properties in Bath for five years and even set two of her six published novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, in the city.

It’s a city I have fallen in love with and is genuinely high on the list for retirement relocation options! But as that is, thankfully, a few years off, I will definitely be returning in the meantime. And when I do, Hotel Indigo Bath will once again be the residence of choice.

A great way to get a handle on what Bath is really all about, is by jumping aboard the Tootbus Open-Top Bus Tour. A great option too for hopping on and off at various points of interest.

Other attractions which should be high on your to-do list whilst in Bath:

The Pump Rooms

The Roman Baths

Bath World Heritage Centre

Bath Abbey

The Jane Austen Centre

The Holburne Museum

Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein

Royal Victoria Park

American Museum and Gardens

Museum of Bath at Work

Herschel Museum of Astronomy

Visit Bath at: Bath’s Official Tourism Information Site | Visit Bath

Fighting for good in Solihull!

Fighting for good in Solihull!

Rotary Club of Solihull St Alphege, Boxing

Amateur fighters from Solihull are preparing to battle out it in the name of good causes at a charity boxing evening organised by local Rotarians next month.

Young members of Solihull Amateur Boxing Club will compete for judges in eight bouts of four rounds at the annual event, on March 1st, at The National Conference Centre.

The evening, being organised for its 34th year by The Rotary Club of Solihull St Alphege, is expected to raise several thousand pounds for national and local causes including Young Carers Solihull, Shelterbox, Aquabox, Rayner House Newspaper and Young Rotary Photographer of the Year.

Rotary Club of Solihull St Alphege, Boxing

Phil Barham, Chairman, Boxing Committee and member of St Alphege, Solihull, Rotary Club for 14 years, said: “It’s great to see the event return. Last time we raised more than £5,000 so we’re hoping to do as well or even exceed that figure this year.

“This is a traditional fundraising event for the Rotary Club of Solihull St Alphege and is always successful, raising more than £287,000 in total. It offers a great chance for

businesspeople to get together with friends and colleagues and have a good night out as well as enjoy the boxing. Some people have been coming for 34 years!”

Raffles will also take place on the night, including the chance to win a £750 cash prize.

Paul Archer, of Solihull Amateur Boxing Club, said: “The club has been supplying the boxing for the Rotary club boxing dinner shows for the last 14 years or more. These shows help sustain our community club which helps to keep young girls and boys off the streets, giving them a safe place to train and keep fit and healthy whilst instilling the hard work ethic. We would like to thank Solihull St Alphege Rotary Club for supporting us.”

Tickets to the black tie event, which include a meal, are available by contacting Rotarian David Newman at rcssta.boxing@gmail.com. Sponsorship and advertising in the souvenir programme is also available. Contact Rotarian David Caldicott for details at: david.caldicott@sky.com

Anyone interested in hearing more about The Rotary Club of Solihull St Alphege, is invited to contact Norman Kaphan at norman@kaphan.co.uk or visit:

www.rotarystalphege.org.uk

Friends put their weight behind charity challenge for school

Friends put their weight behind charity challenge for school

Rowing machine, Henley School

Two good sports from Hatton are ‘pulling’ together to raise money for a cause close to their hearts.

Friends Grace Lessard and Charlotte Foss have pledged to row the length of the River Avon within six weeks to fund new equipment for their school in Henley-in-Arden.

And the girls, aged 13 and 12, already have the finishing line in sight – without even getting their feet wet!

They have already clocked up nearly 50 miles of their combined 83-mile challenge and raised £1,200 of the £1,500 target. It follows regular twice-weekly sessions on the rowing machines at Everyone Active gym in Warwick.

Grace said: “At the end of last year we entered the south Warwickshire Rowing Competition for our school with no experience of rowing. We are very proud of where we placed but would like to improve for the next competition.

“We are therefore fundraising so our school can buy two rowing machines and other PE equipment. Doing this will not only benefit the school’s rowing teams but will enable all students at Henley to discover new sports and enable to PE department to widen its curriculum.”

Charlotte added: “We believe it is extremely important to keep fit, whether at home or at school as it helps improve the mental health and physical wellbeing of pupils. It gets students awake at the beginning and end of the day.

“We know it is important to look after your mental wellbeing because it improves learning skills and memory. It is also important that you broaden horizons for the future and by doing this we believe we can help the school.”

The fundraising stunt has also captured the attention of the Morrisons community fundraising team in Leamington who have donated a hamper of goodies for the girls to raffle off for further funds towards the cause.

Rowing machine, Henley in Arden School
Alex Pearson, community fundraiser at Morrisons, presents the hamper to Charlotte and Grace at Henley School

Joseph Roper, Associate Headteacher at Henley-in-Arden School, said: “I am so proud of Grace and Charlotte for their inspiring fundraising efforts for the school – to help us purchase facilities that will further benefit the students. They have shown resilience, kindness and community sprit throughout their time at Henley so far and this is a great continuation of this. Well done girls!”

Grace’s mum Emma added: “I am unbelievably proud of the girls. They are such an inspiration and are working incredibly hard so the whole school will benefit.”

Donations can be made by visiting here

Take possession of rare Banksy print – for a mere £50k!

Take possession of rare Banksy print – for a mere £50k!

Banksy, Lambert Fine Art, Stratford

A rare artwork by pseudonymous street artist Banksy is on sale at a Stratford-upon-Avon gallery – and it could be hanging on your wall for a mere £50,000!

Lambert Fine Art, in Bell Court, has taken possession of Grannies, one of only a couple of examples of his work that come onto the open market each year.

Published by Pictures On Walls, the framed 57.5×76.5cm limited-edition print from 2006, was obtained by the gallery through a mysterious ‘private source’ linked to the artist and comes complete with a certificate of authentication.

Rendered in Banksy’s signature black and white stencil style, the pair of grannies are set against a block pink background, serving to heighten the humorous contradiction between scene and message, a technique mastered by the artist.

Director Mark Lambert said: “We are so excited to bring to the market this wonderful piece. I have personally sold many prints by Banksy over the years including an original spray work on canvas which in today’s market would be worth millions.

“This Banksy titled ‘Grannies’ is truly exceptional and in perfect condition. It’s framed and glazed with museum quality glass to protect the work for the future.”

“We are also very lucky to be working with the neo-psychedelic-cosmic-abstract-expressionist street artist Sickboy who personally worked with Banksy on many of his shows including The Bristol Museum exhibition and Dismaland in Weston-Super-Mare.”

Banksy, Lambert Fine Art, Stratford
Mark Lambert outside his gallery in Stratford’s Bell Court.

Active since the 1990s, Banksy’s works of political and social commentary have appeared on streets, walls and bridges throughout the world but the identity of the England-based artist remains unknown.

Banksy’s paintings at auction set numerous records. However, the most expensive piece ever sold at auction was the seminal Love is in the Bin which famously went for £18.6m in 2021 at Sotheby’s.

Picasso, Degas, Monet, Warhol, Lowry, Renoir and Henry Moore are among some of the other international artists handled by Mark Lambert, who opened his first dealership in Stratford’s Bell Court in November. The gallery specialises in original 19th-21st Century works as well as contemporary paintings and sculpture from Royal Academy level artists.

Mark, from Knowle, has 24 years in the art business, having previously worked for two of the UK’s top international art dealerships, galleries including in The Cotswolds, London, New York and San Francisco and is connected with the major auction houses around the world such as Bonhams, Christies and Sotheby’s.

He said: “We truly believe that now is the time to bring the very finest examples of high-end original paintings and sculptures to Stratford-Upon-Avon which is something that has been missing for many years, as well as bringing with it our wealthy clients.”