I knew I had been shortlisted but nevertheless it still comes as a shock to be announced as the winner.
Indeed I shared the honours with my friend Liz Hall from Liz Henson Photography, but that seemed to make a lot of sense. We do a lot of collaborative work as is evident on both our websites and social media.
As the sponsor was explaining how hard it is to be a sole trader having to take care of the day-to-day work, marketing, promotion and bookkeeping, I whispered to Liz, 'I think we should share this.'
Then would you believe it we did! Two matching trophies and certificates were handed out. Afterwards the judges told us they had checked both our digital presence and found that we both mentioned each other on our business pages so they couldn't separate us.
As ever I was also reporting on the awards and the presentation story was soon live on the Rossendale Free Press site and in the paper and the sole trader story made the Lancashire Telegraph business pages compiled by the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce. Another story was written for Fearns Community Sports College and that story also made the Lancashire Telegraph. Thank you Paul Swift Photography.
Artist Chris Worswick and her husband Paul decided five years ago to build their own home and now, aged 70 and 71 they are settling in nicely.
This rather unusual story was commissioned by Lancashire Life and provided another opportunity for me to work with Liz Henson Photography.
The story is in the magazine's November edition.
The house is stunning and very 'tardis-like' being definitely much bigger on the inside especially as it has a hidden below ground floor only visible from the rear.
This was a lovely story and allowed me use a different style of writing as my words walked the reader through the house. I even get a byline.
Throughout the month of October, Amazon Kindle has selected my book The Sophie Lancaster Story to become one of its special deals to be promoted to UK readers.
Since the book was relaunced on St George's Day in April, it has been an incredible success and I am delighted to have helped to spread the message that intolerance is unacceptable it today's society and that we all must ensure that nothing like the sickening attack on Sophie and her boyfriend Rob Maltby should be allowed to happen again.
I have been contacted through the Facebook Sophie Lancaster Group by many people who have read the book and I am grateful for their feedback, and the reviews on Amazon and on Goodreads. I am also working with voiceover artist Karen to produce an audio version of the book.
Stamp Out Prejudice Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere. RIP Sophie.
Photo: Liz Henson Photography
Good news! I have waited quite a while to feel so upbeat and feel like I have been waiting years to be so positive.
An optimist always looks on the bright side of life and yet I feel as though I have been stuck at the bottom of a very dark hole. Like the frog in the well, the one who jumps three feet and falls back two. Well this frog appears to have found her legs again.
I went for that consultant appointment and for once I came out with a smile on my face.
If you want to find out more click the icon or see below.
Catherine Smyth Media is a one-stop shop for Press and PR with an added specialism - creating school newspapers
WINNER of Rossendale Business Awards Sole Trader 2016
I write news stories and take photographs for businesses, organisations and individuals with proven results. I have had contracts with two Rossendale high schools since 2009, gained a third in 2015, worked for local charity REAL for more than three years and since 2012 have worked for Rossendale-based charity Veterans In Communities. I am on contract with JJO kitchen, bedroom and bathroom manufacturerer in Bacup and I also work for a number of businesses as and when they require. I produce newsletters as well as news stories for the written press, online media, TV and radio.
Why not let me run a Paper In A Day project at your school?
You can choose either a Paper in a Week project with the end product of a 16-page full colour newspaper written by the schools own pupils promoting literacy and inclusion.Alternatively you can select the Paper in a Day project which produces a 4-page paper and links in with the national curriculum journalistic writing taught in Year 6.
Check out the School News section to see examples of a paper in a day projects. Click here to read testimonials from teachers and pupils.
I also offer an after-school club newspaper service to produce a termly or half-termly paper written by primary school pupils.
I produce brochures and school prospectuses, which can be printed in school saving on costs or externally, if preferred.
To see an example click on the above photograph.
I work as a freelance journalist and photographer.
I have been a journalist since 1988 working on local evening and weekly papers. My last role was as news editor so I have organisational, subbing and page laying experience.
I was a school governor for 10 years, firstly at nursery and then at my sons' primary school. While a governor, I developed a successful school newspaper at my sons' school and now share that experience with other schools through a one-week, one-day or termly or half-termly enrichment programmes.
Check out my School News page for more details and testimonials for feedback.
I have also written a book on the murder of Sophie Lancaster - Weirdo Mosher Freak, which can be bought direct from me. Just follow the link to ebay. To find out more click on my Sophie Lancaster Book page. The book has now been rebranded The Sophie Lancaster Story and is available on Amazon. Picture Liz Henson Photography.
In a voluntary capacity, I am a Cub leader and chairman of the local carnival committee.