News — 13 December 2012

An entrepreneur who has gone from bankruptcy to banquet halls received recognition on the national stage after scooping a major business award.

Sarah Pittendrigh, who runs Simply Bows and Chair Covers, picked up the award for the Most Promising New Business at the finals of the British Chamber of Commerce Awards.

There was a double celebration as the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) won the Award for Excellence in Membership Services at the ceremony, held at London’s Guildhall.

Simply Bows and Chair Covers specialises in quality chair covers, linen and accessories for weddings, balls and corporate events.

The Consett-based company’s award win follows earlier success at the North East Business Awards where it picked up the award for Newcomer of the Year. It has a team of event and wedding specialists with over 20 years experience in the industry, working on weddings and corporate events in some of the most prestigious venues in the UK.

Sarah has gone from bankruptcy to running an award-winning franchise business in just two years. While helping to organise her brother’s wedding, Sarah found a gap in the market for stylish, high-quality chair covers and linen and launched her business in 2008 across the North East.

Just two years on, the business has 11 franchises from Aberdeen to Berkshire and Sarah is on target to open 30 franchises by 2015.

Speaking after collecting her award, Sarah said: “I am thrilled to receive this award. I have a huge network supporting me back home in my family, our team of franchisees and the hotels and brides that we work with, who are all instrumental in the success of the business.

I would also like to thank NECC’s Mike Linstead for his support in preparing our nomination for the awards.”

NECC Chief Executive James Ramsbotham said: “Many congratulations go to Sarah and everyone at Simply Bows and Chair Covers.

Sarah has shown an immense amount of determination and rightly deserves a huge amount of praise for what she has achieved. The level of her success is testament to her vision and drive and from that initial idea she has now gone on to support employment for dozens of people both in the North East and across the UK.”

NECC was awarded the Excellence in Membership Services accolade following its efforts to improve its range of member services and for implementing a model to segment its business membership.

NECC Chief Executive, James Ramsbotham, said: “I am incredibly proud that NECC has won this award. We work tirelessly to improve conditions not only for our region’s business community but for the North East as whole.

Ultimately our aim is to make the North East a success and I feel that this award reflects our hard work and the success that the region has achieved in the past 12 months.”

NECC was joined on the night by eight businesses from the North East who made it through to the finals of the business categories at the Chamber Awards following success at the North East Business Awards.

Simply Bows and Chair Covers won their national chamber award by first entering the North East Business Awards.

If you feel your company deserves national recognition for its success, complete a North East Business Awards nomination to be in with a chance of being crowned one of the North East’s champion businesses and of representing the region on the national stage. Enter today at


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