Derbyshire Life Women in Business Afternoon Tea at Shottle Hall

Great company, superb food and magnificent surroundings made for a most enjoyable afternoon at Shottle

Great company, superb food and magnificent surroundings made for a most enjoyable afternoon at Shottle - Credit: Archant

Guests from across the county travelled to Shottle Hall, set in the peaceful and picturesque countryside near Wirksworth, for Derbyshire Life’s exclusive Women in Business Afternoon Tea

Pauline Gill, Kay Ward and Victoria Brown

Pauline Gill, Kay Ward and Victoria Brown - Credit: Archant

The quintessentially English property, which was built in 1861 and underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment in 2005, proved a fittingly elegant location for the event. Part of the Chatsworth Estate, the Hall is a sought-after wedding venue and in the first glimpse of spring sunshine the neat Victorian frontage of the house looked simply stunning.

Guests were greeted with a drinks reception in the light and bright lounge area, which provided a welcoming space for local businesswomen to network and chat, as staff served bite-sized canapés of goat’s cheese tarts, haggis in pastry baskets and smoked salmon blinis.

We were then led through to the adjoining Orangery Restaurant – a classic and contemporary space with a twinkling celestial ceiling – where immaculately presented tables displayed a selection of sandwiches, mini meringues topped with summer berries, chocolate and hazelnut brownies, lemon drizzle cake, fruit flapjacks and scones served with jam and clotted cream.

Following a warm welcome from Shottle Hall’s wedding and events director Sarah Davis, who has worked at the family business since 2010, it was time to ‘tuck-in’. Food was beautifully arranged on tiered glass stands and as we enjoyed the delights on offer – accompanied by cups of tea or glasses of Prosecco supplied by Telford Wines – we could admire the lovely view.

Derby-born entrepreneur Deborah Fern delivered a warm and inspiring speech recalling her own fascinating business history; growing up in a working-class family in Alvaston, she started her own training company, Fernley Business Services, to help the long-term unemployed into work. Just 15 years after it was founded, the business was helping up to 25,000 unemployed people per year. In 2006, Deborah sold the company for £15.5 million and in 2008 she was awarded an OBE for her services to business and charity.

The afternoon was a superb way to celebrate the businesswomen of Derbyshire and provided a perfect opportunity to unwind in a relaxing corner of the county.