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  • Writer's pictureSuzi Christie

Seeing beyond the disability

It’s not every day you help one of your clients win £20,000, but that is exactly what we did last month when Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm owner Clive Collins picked up one of the top prizes at the Stelios Awards for Disabled Entrepreneurs.

The awards are jointly run by the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and Leonard Cheshire. Started in 2007. they recognize exceptional spirit and business ability and offer one of the largest financial prizes available for disabled entrepreneurs in the UK. To date, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s foundation has donated £1,196,000 in prize money.

Business awards

In recent years Blueberry has had considerable success at business awards. I’ve written before about my, ‘seven reasons to enter business awards’. A quick five-point summary might be:

  1. Exposure – a win can be used in the press and on advertising

  2. Benchmarking – it allows the company to see how it is doing in comparison to the competition

  3. Insights – judges will often give feedback on the application, which helps to give the business owner a different perspective on their operations

  4. Sharing success – if the awards are announced at a gala event, this is an ideal opportunity to show your staff they are valued

  5. Networking – you get to mingle with other business leaders in your industry or region

Stelios Awards for Disabled Entrepreneurs

Mingling was not a possibility at this year’s Stelios Awards for Disabled Entrepreneurs as the winners were announced during a virtual ceremony on 13th June 2022. Clive was named as one of three winners. The other two being Joe Waggott of Metal Polishing Supplies UK Ltd. and Joseph Williams of Clu.

These awards mean a lot to someone like Clive. Over the years he has had considerable success at business awards over the years, including winning the Triumph Over Adversity award at the Rural Business Awards and Best Small Business and Business Personality of the Year at the 1066 Business Awards.

The Stelios Awards for Disabled Entrepreneurs are different because they are purely judged on business acumen.

As Clive said to me: “To be chosen as an outstanding entrepreneur gives me more confidence to move ahead with my Christmas tree farm business. I feel most humbled and lucky to be selected as a winner.”

Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm

It can feel rather strange talking about a Christmas tree farm in July, but as we know from working with Clive and the team over the last ten years, Christmas soon comes around.

Situated in the village of Catsfield, just outside Battle, Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm has been supplying locally grown trees to families across East Sussex for over 30 years. They have a motto – ‘Come for a tree, leave with a smile’ – that fully describes their ethos.

As a business they focus on providing the full festive experience – from choosing your tree in the plantation, to a magical shop with lights, decorations, stands, wreaths, etc. – everything you need for Christmas.

What makes Clive’s story so inspirational is that he started and built up his business after an accident that left him confined to a wheelchair. For most ‘able-bodied’ people, running a tree farm would be an impossibility but, for Clive, it is not just something he has just done, it is something he has exceled at. #abilitynotdisability

Watching Clive win this award was certainly one of my career highlights. I am always extremely proud when our efforts contribute towards a client winning an award but, in this case, when the meaning of the awards is so at the heart of our client, it was a moment of real joy to hear his name being read out.

If you want to discuss how we can help gain exposure for your business through awards, contact Suzi on 07590 591140 or e-mail


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