WARRINGTON based businesswoman Christine Ditchfield, founder of 3 Pugs Gin, is celebrating after being crowned Inspiring Women Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 after embarking on a new career aged 60.
Founded in 1992, the Inspiring Women Awards have, over the past 26 years, recognised and promoted the achievements of 100s of women who live or work in the North West and North Wales.
Christine, who set up her business originally operating from her garden shed, inspired by her passion for gin and her love of her three pet pugs, said: “It was an amazing day and I was so humbled to be nominated for such an esteemed award by Trisha Peters, I was very flattered when she asked my permission to nominate me back in March.”
There were 6 categories: Business Award; Inspiring Young Women Award; Here Come The Girls Award; Manchester Bee Award; Entrepreneur Award and Community Award, with three nominees for each category.
The event was held at The Lowry Hotel, Manchester and had over 240 attendees present.
Christine added: “The atmosphere was electric, with each nominee given time during an interview to tell their particular story.
“The awards cover inspirational women from all over the North West and North Wales and is really well done. I was nominated for the Entrepreneur category. All the nominees were invited to an informal drinks reception the week before
to enable us to meet each other and take time to get to know one another. It is the first time I have attended anything like this and I expected an air of competitiveness, this was far from the case, we were all really supportive of each other and recognised that it was all about the story rather than the brand, what we had achieved and how.
“On the day, I must admit that my nerves got the better of me on several occasions. I was interviewed live by Michelle Daniel our MC for the day, Michelle has worked extensively for the BBC and is currently Assistant Editor of BBC.
Michelle currently works as Assistant Editor for BBC Radio Stoke, she also presents a weekly food and drink programme called The Takeaway, which celebrates what Staffordshire and Cheshire has to offer.
“During my interview I was encouraged to tell our story of how 3 Pugs Gin came to be. It was received with great applause!”
“I was asked to say a few words, not sure how I got through, there is a video should you wish to see it, it’s on our facebook page. Its hard to describe how I felt, elated, humbled, special, proud….. I felt elated to be recognised as inspirational, it’s not a word I would use to describe myself and as many women and others in business will know it’s difficult to accept personal accolade, I hope I did with grace and some humour.
“I’m just settling down and accepting what has happened, already, I am being asked to do personal appearances, and our social media feeds have gone berserk.
“I hope that I can use this award as a starting point to help and inspire others to chase and make their dreams a reality, I never expected to be embarking on a new career at 60 years of age, but here I am and its a fantastic feeling to be able to do something which I feel very passionate about, its does not feel like work at all.”