Wow! What a journey since the announcement was made by Karen Massey during my first LeamTweetup meeting back in July 2014 at The Royal Pug. Karen announced the first ever Leamington Business Awards were to be taking place in October 2014. I instantly wanted to be a part of it. Leamington is my home town, I have lived, studied and worked here all my life. What an honour it would be to be included too.
Blue Owl Therapy was nominated and I asked my lovely clients for their votes and their feedback during August. It was the day after I’d just won an award at NYR Organic that I’d found out I had been one of the three finalists shortlisted for the Health & Beauty category! Oh my goodness! A complete shock! My fate was now in the hands of the four independent judges – Chris White MP; Chris Lillington, Editor of the Leamington Courier; Vicky Shepherd, Founder of Cologne & Cotton; and Sarah Tremellen MBE, Chief Executive and Founder of Bravissimo.
The lead-up to the Awards night was really making me nervous. I was in with a chance of winning. I’d been to my first ladies’ networking event in the day, Solihull Women’s Networking, and the ladies there asked me what my winning and losing faces looked like – I’d hesitated and said I’d rather not practice my winning face, just in case I automatically stand up to accept and then realise it’s not my name that’s being called!
It’s the first time I’ve ever been to an independent awards evening, apart from when I won Student of the Year at Warwickshire College in 1992 – yes, a long time ago! So this was all new to me. My lovely partner, Charlie, was being his usual wonderful self and calming me down whilst also sharing in the excitement of the whole event. The Royal Pump Rooms were amazing! A red carpet and Champagne reception on arrival, canapés and delightful singing by David Thomas.
Our table, Binswood Avenue, had other small business owners who were all great company – Jabberwocky, who have the most amazing gourmet toasties; YouNeek Productions, creating engaging videos for online marketing; and Shape Your Wardrobe, the best in helping you edit your wardrobe and personal shopping services – and we all enjoyed networking and understanding about our local businesses, and having lots of wine – well, rude not to, eh?
The event was sponsored by BPS – a local Leamington company that was regularly used by my fantastic father, the late Chris Woodhead, a superb local builder and carpenter. So the Awards ceremony was underway – with the Health & Beauty category second on the list. The Spa in Leamington had sponsored the award and Mark, the owner, was presenting it. The finalists were announced, mine being the second company and cheers being shouted from our table. There was a moment of quiet, then the winner was announced. Oh my goodness – it was Blue Owl Therapy!! I sat for a few seconds, startled, in shock, and then realised I had to go on stage to collect my award. I hadn’t prepared. I wasn’t supposed to win. I was up against strong competition. I grabbed the business card with a few memory joggers for a speech so I didn’t forget anyone. It was all a bit too much – I desperately held back the tears so I could be poised enough to accept it. Instead of a speech, I was interviewed. It all happened so quick, thanks to Charlie for videoing it – you can watch and enjoy.
I never got the chance to formally thank everyone who had voted for me and left their wonderful comments, so I am taking this opportunity to do just that. Thank you. Really, thank you from the bottom of my heart. My journey hasn’t been an easy one, at times I have questioned why I am doing this. Inspired by by own experiences with therapies, the answer is simple. I love what I do and I love helping others. If I can make a difference to someone that results in a positive effect then it’s all worth it.