Oh my. What a night Saturday night turned out to be. As many of our customers and other friends know we were shortlisted as finalists for the Fusion 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year Award in April (read the blog) and Saturday was the night of the spectacular gala awards ceremony and we won the award!
On stage receiving the Fusion 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year Award
The evening started with much hilarity with various wardrobe malfunctions before we'd even arrived at the beautiful St. George's Hall in Blackburn but things seemed to have worked themselves out by the time we were ushered in to meet the most welcoming Mayor of Mayoress of Blackburn who presented us with our finalists' certificates.
Being presented with our nomination certificates by the Mayor and Mayoress
We were both surprisingly calm as we took our seats in the hall - largely because we didn't think that we would win the award and we were looking forward to enjoying the awards ceremony and the evening's live entertainment, not to mention the dinner!
St. George's Hall, Blackburn, the venue for the Fusion 2014 Awards
Sitting in the hall listening to the stories of the nominees and winners was truly humbling. A young man of 15 received the UCLAN Education Achievement Award - a model A student at school despite shouldering the responsibilities of being the primary carer for his family at home, and there were so many people who were recognised for their personal and group contributions to various communities in the North West of England.
As the nominees were announced for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award an image of us with Tino flashed up on the big screen and we looked at each other and smiled - happy to be there as nominees and enjoying the moment. But then we heard our names announced as the winners - and looked at each other with pure shock and disbelief in our eyes.
We suddenly realised we had to get up and go up to the stage so we staggered up on wobbly legs to receive the award which was presented by Iram Ali Khan of event management company Supreme Dream, sponsors of the award, and Azhar Siddique, social enterprise champion and former participant of the BBC’s Apprentice.
Jenny started crying and I managed to make some kind of rambling thank you speech which most certainly won't go down in history as my most articulate or coherent moment. I can only apologise to the four hundred people sitting out there in the audience!
More media photos followed and then we were able to return to our seats and enjoy the rest of the awards ceremony.
We must of course say a huge thank you to the Fusion Judges for even considering that we are worthy of this award. We feel so incredibly honoured. To receive the Fusion 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year Award for doing something we love is just amazing.
Still can't quite believe it!
We are incredibly lucky. Charley Chau has, without doubt, been a life-changing experience. The support we receive from our customers and other friends, particularly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is just incredible. The well wishes we’ve received over the weekend have been so humbling. Thank you, a million times thank you, to everyone who has supported us on our journey so far.
So what does the future hold? More of the same! We're going to keep doing what we've been trying to do from the day we started ... designing beautiful dog bedding that is super-cosy, stylish and practical. There are lots of dogs in this world that deserve their own little bit of CharleyLove so we need to keep busy!