Businesses put forward for indie firms awards shortlist

TWYFORD and Wargrave have been making waves at a county-wide awards competition.

A whole host of Wokingham borough-based businesses are busy celebrating their nominations to the final round of the Muddy Awards — and a lot of them are based in the northern parishes.

The annual awards ceremony is organised by website Muddy Stilettos to recognise indie firms in counties up and down the country.

There are 27 awards in Berkshire, including Best Art Gallery, Best Bridal Store and Best Gift Shop.

Cruising into the final

Go With The Flo, a paddle-boarding company based in Wargrave, is one of the businesses to reach the final voting stage for the Favourite Family Attraction Award.

Nick Judd, its director, said it was a surprise to be nominated.

“It was lovely,” he said. “At that stage, it was just nice to know that people had heard of us and what we do, and seemingly like what we do.”

But he was not confident his family-run firm would make it to the final five.

“We’re simply trying to grow awareness of a sport we love and, in doing so, we’re trying to get more and more people outside, active and connected to our stunning surroundings,” he said..

“We’ve worked hard to grow this business and things like this really do mean the world.”

Mr Judd thanked Wargrave’s “stunning surroundings” for making Go With The Flo a potentially award-winning experience.

“Wargrave is just beautiful, and we never tire of our location,” he said. “Every recommendation or vote means a lot to us because you never know what it might lead to.”

Award-winning interiors

Victoria & Co, in Twyford, has also reached the final round for the Favourite Interiors Store category.

Owner Victoria Willson-Copland, who launched the store late last year, said it is a privilege to be in the top five.

“When we found out we were in the finals we were thrilled and shocked all at the same time,” she said. “I had to read the email twice just to make sure I understood it properly. We weren’t expecting it at all.”

She said Victoria & Co’s customer relations are what make her firm stand out from the crowd.

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to all of our clients and customers who have voted for us and supported our business, especially during the pandemic,” Ms Willson-Copland added. “It all means so much to us.”

A true testament

Twyford’s Stanlake Park Wine Estate is a finalist in the Favourite Local Food/Drink Producer Award.

Stanlake Park’s Natalia Pezzone said the nomination is one of the greatest things the team could hope for.

“The best recognition to receive is the one coming from your own customers,” she said. “It is a testament to the huge efforts we put into improving the quality of our wines last year.”

She said the Twyford firm is the only drinks producer in the final round for its category.

“No matter how voting goes, we already know that people consider us their favourite drinks producer in Berkshire, and that’s frankly amazing,” Ms Pezzone added.

She said Stanlake Park’s history as one of the oldest wine producers in England is what gives it an edge.

“We are so grateful and all credits go to our fantastic supporters, customers, business partners and social media followers,” she added. “It’s only thanks to them that we made it to the finals, and no matter the results we already feel like winners.”

Sonning Flowers is also in the final round for Favourite Florist, and Creative Landscapes in Twyford and Melissa Jolly Ecological Garden Design in Crazies Hill are up for the Favourite Garden Designer Award.

A huge year for Muddy

According to Muddy Stilettos, 30,000 nominations were cast in Berkshire and more than 2,000 businesses were put forward this year.

There are 135 finalists.

Rachel Jane, editor of Muddy Stilettos Berkshire, said the team is excited to be running this year’s awards.

“The irony of lockdown is that it brought communities closer together and we all discovered just how brilliant our independent local businesses are,” she said.

“The Muddy Awards gives our readers and the public the chance to show them some love and acknowledge their hard work, bravery and stellar achievements in such an unprecedented year.”

Voting in the Berkshire Muddy Awards finals is open until Friday, July 23 after which the winners will be announced.

For more details, visit: www.muddystilettos.co.uk

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