Proudly supported by

Author Archives: sophia

Kin Vodka, The Crafty Baa and Sweetheart Candy Carts are ones to watch!

The judges really loved these Cumbrian family businesses and has deemed them ones to watch in future years when their journey along the family business road progresses a little further. Meet these businesses who are invigorating their local economy and starting to stir things up a bit!

Although very young, this new family business has all the hallmarks of future success. A great exemplar of seeing an opportunity, having a passion, having a family prepared to work hard together to get this new venture off the ground. They even have “Grandparents cutting front hedge, serving, waiting on, washing pots”
 Whilst a young business, they really go the extra mile and their attention to customer service has led to a dedicated customer base. A true family business who are proud of everyone’s contribution they shout from the rooftops about the family in their business.

This business has tenacity, with a strong sense of family values, fairness and long term thinking – although young they show a great attitude and definitely one to watch.

Congratulations to all three of these wonderful ‘Ones to Watch’ we look forward to seeing you on the night!  #CFBA2017 #WeAreCumbria

Retailers and Wholesalers from Cockermouth, Sedbergh and across the Lakes make finals of Cumbria Family Business Awards

The patchwork of our high streets and towns is made up of a myriad of retailers and wholesalers who provide colour, interest and treasure troves of products for delighted customers.  Meet your Cumbria Family Business Awards finalists for Retailers and Wholesalers right here…


Herdy was born in 2007, created by husband and wife design team, Spencer & Diane Hannah. Inspired by the Lake District Herdwick sheep, herdy creates contemporary giftware, homeware and accessories, made to make you smile and supports sustainable rural community in The Lakes through the Herdyfund. Herdy has 60’000 social media followers the world over.

Herdy designs everything in-house. The company has four of its own shops and trades with over 300 retailers UK wide, plus Europe, Japan and the USA.

In 2010 herdy won Business In The Community’s Small Company of the Year for responsible business practice.

In 2016 herdy became the Lead Commercial Collaboration partner with LDNPA for the World Heritage Campaign.

The next chapter for herdy’s responsible business ethic launched in February; HerdySleep. An artisan, British made, traditional pocket sprung mattress, that is a commercially viable long-term solution for making good use of Herdwick wool.


JMP Foodservice are a fourth generation family business founded over 80 years ago.  Based in Sedbergh and serving caterers throughout Cumbria, Yorkshire, Lancashire and south west Scotland, we deliver using our own fleet of multi-temperature vehicles direct to our customers door. Service and value are vital ingredients in our business philosophy, and we aim to exceed our customers expectations.

Our extensive product range is constantly evolving to reflect the ever changing needs of our customers, and with over 3500 product lines we can supply Frozen, Chilled, Ambient Groceries, Non-Food and Cleaning Materials all on one delivery.

We are members of Fairway Foodservice – a national association of independent wholesalers whose combined purchasing power allows us to compete effectively with the major national distributors, giving you “Local Service with National Strength”.


A vital part of the community, with over 180 years of trading J.B Banks is a unique hardware business which has kept its appeal.

Founded in 1836, we provide traditional service and have a wide variety of stock, from refurbished quality tools to locally made walking sticks. If we don’t have it in one of our 173 original drawers behind the Georgian mahogany counter or countless boxes, then we’ll know where to get it.

Visitors are now able to go behind the scenes into the free heritage museum at the back of the shop containing the workshops and office dating back to the 1820’s.

We support Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team, GN Air Ambulance and Tools for Self-Reliance. Last year we raised nearly £900 for the CMRT and GNAA as part of our 180th anniversary celebrations.

All that’s changed is the generation in charge!

Good luck to all the finalists and can’t wait to see you all at the Cumbria Family Business Awards ceremony on Friday 10th March! #CFBA2017 #WeAreCumbria



Creating and making in Cumbria; Cumbrian manufacturing businesses make award finals.

Cumbria’s green and pleasant land doesn’t perhaps highlight the hard working industries behind the scenes enough. Creating and making products Cumbria can be proud of, meet the finalists of the Manufacturing category of Cumbria Family Business Awards…

Lakeland Fells Furniture Ltd was established in 2004 to provide an organisational base from which the creative furniture design and manufacturing skill of Andrew Smith, then just 21, could be developed.
Established by Andrew and his parents, Bill & Lin, the company has developed its reputation and now services an ever increasing client base, from homeowners to commercial operators. A dedicated team in the workshop helps ensure that productivity is maintained and delivering the  quality expected by our clients.
Andrews skills have been recognised by the hospitality sector operators where his creative designs, and use of traditional and more contemporary cabinet making skills (and materials) has helped them achieve hard earned tourism presentation  awards.  The company is committed to helping provide local employment to those seeking to develop cabinet making skills, for many years providing opportunities for apprentices.  Andrew’s wife, Donna, manages the Special Spaces Showroom where examples of the creative diversity of the company can be viewed.

Lauren’s Cows is a mother, daughter partnership, based in the tiny village of Crackenthorpe in Cumbria, specialising in vibrant artwork and luxury items for the home all featuring wonderfully characterful Cows. Lauren is the daughter and artist, and mum, Jude, provides the brains of the outfit! The family business launched quite unexpectedly in October 2012, all beginning with a single painting of a cow.  One cow led to another, and another and Lauren’s Cows was born!
Since then we have put lived and breathed the business, honing our skills, collaborating with charities, travelling the country, facing the elements and all the while strengthening our brand and our relationship. Yes, we had to rope in brothers, fathers and husbands to create the thriving business that Lauren’s Cows is today, but what are families for?!  Everyone says that our Cows makes you smile, we know they make us smile every day!


MMA Ltd, trading as Twoey, an award winning manufacturer of Educational Resources, is a family business started in 1996 by a grandfather making things for his grandchildren and today employs some 30 people with three generations of the family involved. Twoey operates from a purpose built manufacturing site in Wigton  from where it supplies its customers across the whole of the UK and an increasing number of countries around the world.  It has three distinctive ranges: Twoey Inside, a range of Early Years role play products and furniture. Twoey Outside, an exciting range of furniture and role play products suitable to be left outdoors. Twoey Learning which has a very tactile range of curriculum based resources, which are now being developed in different languages. The Twoey team take great pride in supplying our customers with the highest level of product quality and service.

Good luck to all you wonderful businesses in the Manufacturing finals which have been sponsored by our main awards sponsor Lamont Pridmore. See you on the 10th March at Cumbria Family Business Awards Ceremony! #CFBA2017 #WeAreCumbria

The Churchmouse at Barbon, Three Hares and Zeffirellis make Cumbria Family Business Awards

We are spoilt for choice in Cumbria for places to eat and drink; from warm and welcoming cafes where you can kick off your boots by the fire, to high dining experiences where the regions best produce is showcased. The judges had some extremely tough decisions to come up with their finalists for this category, you can learn more about them here…


The Churchmouse at Barbon. Where do we start? Village store, purveyors of award-winning Cheese Wedding Cakes, café with outside terrace, outside catering, private venue hire, speciality cheese counter, off licence and a Friday Night Bistro all rolled into one. Husband and wife team, John and Jules Natlacen head up this family friendly business in the quaint village of Barbon, Cumbria.

“We are the heart of the village” says Jules. “The villagers feel like our family and we want to look after them and make them feel they have a place to socialise, talk, relax and unwind as well as do their shopping”

After running Churchmouse Cheeses in Kirkby Lonsdale for 12 years, they stumbled upon Barbon Stores which was up for sale and in a very sorry state. In 3 years, the village store has been transformed by the pair in to a vibrant, busy, welcoming destination for the villagers, cyclists, walkers, families and the like.


Three Hares is a family run Café, Bistro & Bakery set in the stunning town of Sedbergh, in the Cumbrian part of the Yorkshire Dales. The name Three Hares come from the symbol, which appears throughout the UK, Europe and Asia and reflects James & Nina’s background and influences in the menu. James’ upbringing in the local area brings local produce, wild & game where as Nina’s German upbringing with Japanese parents adds a different twist. The food is true ‘Field to Fork’, ‘Nose to Tail’ which stays as true to the seasons as possible, and as local as quality they require dictates. The bakery side provides Sourdoughs, Pastries & Savouries, Lunch traditional Soups, Sandwiches and their famous ‘Drovers Platter’ alongside delights like Venison Curry & Kidneys on Sourdough. The evening is a creative fine dining experience of their own influences, together with a real passion for sourcing the best produce.

A legend in the Lakes: that’s Zeffirellis, the family owned business that’s transformed life in Ambleside, for residents and tourists, for nearly 40 years. Five cinema screens, two restaurants, a daytime café, a wine bar, live jazz, and now an elegant country-house hotel. All this in one small town from one dynamic family and their adopted-family of dedicated staff. It’s known throughout the world as “Zeffs”, the envy of multi-plex cinema-goers for its comfortable seats and stunning range of latest mainstream movies, art-house films, and theatre-on-the-screen. Famous, too, for being a vegetarian restaurant where many of the diners don’t even realise there’s no meat on the menu. They love the pizza, and the fine-dining dishes at Fellinis, the “movie and a meal” deal, and they love the atmosphere. It’s always busy and always buzzing. And next up: their own jazz festival later this year.

GOOD LUCK to all these fabulous finalists! Excited to find out who the winner is on the big night of Cumbria Family Business Awards 2017! #CFBA2017 #WeAreCumbria

Bells of Lazonby, Grasmere Gingerbread and Hawkshead Relish make finals of Cumbria Family Business Awards

Cumbria is renowned as a foody haven, and with so many well-loved food and drink producers creating innovative and frankly delicious treats for the nation this was one of the most hotly-contested categories of the Cumbria Family Business Awards. The judges had some difficulty in choosing their three finalists here, come and meet them…

We are an established Cumbrian Family Bakery with a taste for quality, having created delicious products for over 70 years. Our highly-skilled and long-serving bakers produce beautiful cakes, tarts, muffins and artisan breads, for both retail and food service channels. As part of our innovative and flexible approach to baking, our company is divided into three unique brands. Bells of Lazonby is our parent brand providing exceptional baked delights to our North West Region including Booths stores. Our We Love Cake brand produces free-from treats, all made and hand-finished in our gluten, wheat and dairy free bakery. Our third brand, The Village Bakery Melmerby delivers a 100% organic range of expertly crafted rye breads and oatcakes to national health stores & wholesalers. We are also very proud to offer a full range of baked goods to our loyal customers under private label, including national retailers and large food service providers.



Grasmere Gingerbread® is unique and one of Cumbria’s most iconic foodstuffs. A delicious spicy-sweet cross between a biscuit and a cake, it was invented by Victorian cook Sarah Nelson in 1854. When she died in 1904 the business was taken over by her two great nieces, establishing a lasting family tradition. In the 1930s Grasmere Gingerbread was acquired by current owner Joanne Hunter’s family. Today, along with husband Andrew, and their daughter Yasmine – who ensures a remarkable fourth generation succession – Grasmere Gingerbread’s family legacy is safe. “Our family’s commitment to Sarah Nelson’s original Victorian values of quality, originality and putting the product and customer first is at the heart of everything we do,” said Joanne. Still made fresh every day, the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop is the ONLY place in the world where you can buy Grasmere Gingerbread®. Customers include celebrity chefs, Hollywood actors and TV stars. It is exported across the world.


Maria and Mark set up the Hawkshead Relish Company back in 1999, as part of the café they were running in Hawkshead, but it was the events of 2001 in the Foot & Mouth crisis that made them diversify from the café into the Relishes as the main source for the business. Backed by a supportive bank manager and a belief that using top quality ingredients, Mark created the recipes making the Relishes as a home cook would do, without using, gluten, preservatives, colourings or flavourings, and this is still the mantra that they work by today. The pans have increased in size over the years, making on average 5,000 jars a day still by hand, their daughters now both also work in the business which employs around 26 all local people, as Maria says, “the whole team at Relish are part of our family, we care about them all dearly”.

Good luck to all our finalists, one of them will be crowned the winner of Food and Drink Producer category at the Cumbria Family Business Awards on Friday 10th March. Good luck! #CFBA2017 #WeAreCumbria

Agriculture, Forestry and Farming finalists for Cumbria Family Business Awards

Farming in Cumbria may bring to mind visions of flat caps and collie dogs however whilst that still rings true for many farms, the key to our finalists success has been diversity. Meet three very different Cumbrian farms who are dealing with the pressures on a traditional industry in ingenious ways.


We, Terry & Anne, Andrew (our Son) and Jen (our daughter-in-law) decided in 2005 that we needed to diversify as farming dairy cattle and sheep was not bringing in enough income. After an agonising decision, we decided to sell our 150 dairy cattle.
We had a 5-acre boggy field which we thought half of it would make an excellent lake and the rest we would like to place holiday homes around the edge of the lake. We applied for planning permission which we obtained and set about digging out the boggy area in January 2007, put in all the infra structure, gas, electricity, water, etc, and sold our first plot in September 2007.
We used neighbouring trades people to help us build the Park. We now have 20 plots on Lightwater Tarns and a whole bunch of great holiday home owners. They use local farm shops, local businesses, etc, and generally bring income into this beautiful area. Our lives have been enhanced by this diversification on so many levels.



The Stable family have farmed in and around Urswick for the past 200 years. Currently we farm 500 acres at two farms. At Bolton Manor there are the 250 dairy cows run by Tom and Anna Stable and at Edgehill we grow feed (forage and cereals) for the dairy herd and youngstock.  At Edgehill, Mike and Denise look after the farm and turn some of the milk into delicious ice cream which we sell through our on-farm ice cream parlour. Our customers like the provenance of our ice cream and the food miles (only 2 miles), from production of the milk to making and consumption of the finished product.  We are looking forward to reopening at Easter and welcoming our regular customers who have supported us so well.

BUSINESS BOOST — (l-r) Tom Stable, Anna Stable, Denise Stable and Mike Stable at Edgehill Farm, Ulverston, with their new products Cumbria Cow Ice Cream, made from the milk produced by their dairy cows. Monday 2nd May 2016 LINDSEY DICKINGS



West Coast Composting Ltd is a family business which has been established since 2008 as a recycling, and more lately renewables company in Whitehaven, West Cumbria. Initially we set off recycling green waste, timber and plasterboard, plus produced compost but have since diversified into biomass and renewable energy. In addition we now produce and supply biomass fuels, kiln dried logs with further plans to expand our services and products that will benefit the agricultural industry. We are presently forming ‘West Coast Group’ so we can differentiate the sectors in which we operate; Compost and Recycling, Fuels; and Agriculture.  We pride ourselves in offering a friendly, reliable and helpful service that thrives on positive feedback, adapting to customer needs and enjoy working with clients to come up with bespoke solutions. We are ‘The natural choice’.

We wish all the finalists good luck on the night! One of them will be crowned the winner of Cumbria Agriculture Forestry and Farming Business of the Year and could even become the overall winner. See you on the 10th March at Cumbria Family Business Awards!

Lamont Pridmore the family firm, stand firmly behind family business.

Graham Lamont is a force of nature, when we met with him at the judging day we were bowled over by his enthusiasm and knowledge of the family business sector. Running a family business with his son Chris goes someway to explaining the deep understanding of family businesses but Lamont Pridmore is also a multi-award winning accountancy firm with a wide and varied client base including some of the country’s most well-respected family firms. Lamont Pridmore is our main event sponsors and having them on board has brought more than just funds to help us bring the event to life, they have also provided their expertise, their clients would agree with us about their family business kudos.

Lamont Pridmore are more than just accountants, they are the family’s trusted adviser on all financial and business matters. We learnt more in our first two hour quarterly review meeting than we have in the last ten years. The firm is helping to put all of our business and personal affairs in to a manageable, understandable and simple structure to reduce the business risk, administration time and tax burden for us all. I would recommend Lamont Pridmore wholeheartedly as a family business adviser. – Peter Atkinson,  Chairman Carlisle Estates Company Limited

Graham’s keen eye for the financial detail behind the applications was hawk-like, seriously nothing gets past this man! His serious professionalism belies a wicked sense of humour which kept us all in good spirits throughout the judging day. Lamont Pridmore is well known to Cumbria but both Graham and son Chris are involved with a range of projects on a national level too, their expertise on family businesses have brought welcome insight to the awards and we are extremely grateful to Lamont Pridmore for supporting the awards in their first year.Do find them on the night, they are affable and warm people, but make no mistake they know their family business onions!


Rhymes and Recollections of a Lakeland Lad to be celebrated at Cumbria Family Business Awards



Jean Hayton, the late great Len Hayton’s wife came to Sue’s office to deliver 25 copies (26 actually as there was one for us to enjoy too!) of Len Hayton’s book, Rhymes & Recollections of a Lakeland Lad 2016 which will be used at the awards ceremony on 10th March 2017.  It is subtitled A Book for Browsers in Verse, Story & Song, and is a revised and abridged version of his first book, The Collected Tales of a Lakeland Lad (2011).  Jean spoke with heart and love about Len and all the team were practically a blubbering wreck by the end of our short meeting! Jean was sure that Len would have wanted to support the Cumbria Family Business Awards having been a key member of the business community. His life was about more than work though and  Rhymes & Recollections is a patchwork of Len’s life and interests. His roots are in Kentmere, where he was born on the family farm. He lived in South Lakeland, where he founded the legal firm, Hayton Winkley, with his law partner, Michael Winkley, in Windermere and Kendal in the early sixties. Len was honoured to receive the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Cumbria Business Awards in 2007.
Len’s writings are mostly in plain English but some are in the Lakeland dialect which he heard and spoke as a boy, loving its characteristic lilt and humour. Sadly Len died on the very day that he and his wife published the new book.
All the proceeds of sales of the books go to two local charities: CancerCare South Lakeland and St John’s Hospice at Home. So far £15,000 has been raised! We are extremely grateful to Jean for kindly donating these books to us, we hope to spread the word of Len’s work far and wide on the night.

Even mice in love back business awards!

We met with the delightful and insightful Jane Byle earlier this month to talk about her work. Jane has generously donated 25 copies of her book to be included in the awards ceremony taking place on 10th March 2017.
Jane Byle: Creative writing has become an enjoyable hobby for me. My debut novel – Autumn Leaves was published by ‘2QT’ in 2012. In the book, the protagonist’s favourite childhood story is Montgomery the Church Mouse. Later, I decided to write a children’s book using the fictional title and it was published in 2014. My book has been beautifully illustrated by Tim Budgen. It has been popular with 5-7 year olds and makes a great gift for flower girls and pageboys, with its wedding theme and being a mouse love story! At the back of the book, there are pages entitled ‘Memories of a Special Day’ where a child can write about a wedding or special occasion they attended. They could draw a picture or stick in photos in this space. The book could occupy children during long wedding speeches.
The book is absolutely charming and we were bowled over by the tender care given to the frankly adorable mice in the stories. The books are available on the publisher’s website and is stocked in shops locally, including Kitridding Farm Shop, A Family Affair – Kendal, Wolfhouse Gallery – Silverdale, The Little Shop – Arnside, The Churchmouse at Barbon and the Tourist Information Centre – Kirkby Lonsdale. Jane can be contacted on should any local business wish to stock her book.

Author Matthew Connolly gives his support to Cumbrian business

Matthew Connolly is an author, journalist and also a generous generous man. One of the first to respond to our plea for Cumbrian novels we are delighted to be including his first novel, Dances with the Daffodils in the awards ceremony on 10th March. Matthew describes the book as a “love letter to nature” set in Wordsworth’s time.

The book was shortlisted for Lakeland Book of the Year 2014. Described by head judge Hunter Davies, as “extremely well-written” and by Oxford professor and Wordsworth biographer Lucy Newlyn as “a real delight”.

Matthew is currently finishing his second novel, a contemporary adaptation of Wuthering Heights, set in the Lake District. He is a former classical music critic for The Times and is an active musician and poet. He lives near Windermere with his GP wife and two children, and declares himself an “enthusiastic plunger into the county’s freezing lakes, rivers, tarns and waterfalls”. We are extremely grateful to Matthew and can’t wait to plunge into his world, even if it might mean getting a bit chilly! Dances with the Daffodils and future novels are available through an independent publishers based in the Lake District which Matthew owns. You can also find out more about his latest works and upcoming projects on his facebook page.

Our Sponsors

A huge thank you to all our sponsors for the Cumbria Family Business Awards 2018