I was thrilled and honoured to deliver a Barmy tale at Yorkshire Business Festival

October 4, 2015

By Eve Lodge

Six hundred ladies converged on the picturesque Tankersley Manor on the outskirts of Barnsley on Thursday, October 1 – for the first Yorkshire Business Festival.

I was thrilled to be among them – and honoured to be one of the nine guest speakers!


It was a fantastic event, organised by Melanie Malcolm of Yorkshire Ladies Links, and gave my hometown of Barnsley a real buzz, not only on the day but weeks leading up to the day, which turned out to be gloriously sunny too!

Business ladies from all over Yorkshire attended – and some great relationships were either started, built upon, or simply carried on.

I had a ‘Barmy’ stand at the event, as well as being asked to speak, and it was lovely to hear so many people compliment the bunting on show. They also wanted to purchase pieces in good numbers, but unfortunately a problem with my newly-acquired PayPal card reader scuppered plenty of orders!

PayPal suspended my account – saying I had to be over 18. Their attitude was vastly different to the brilliant people at my bank, where I hold my business account.

When I had first approached the national bank, they listened to me, and my business proposition, and decided to use me as their ‘guinea pig’, making me the first person under 18 at their bank to have a business account.

To say PayPal haven’t been as good or understanding is an understatement!

Fortunately, the lovely people who had enquired about my bunting face-to-face promised to follow up with website orders – and the day wasn’t spoiled.

I could not run Barmy without the fantastic support of my family, and my mum and dad popped into Tankersley Manor to hear me speak.

My inspirational Auntie Helen had also come up from London on the train for the day to support me, and listen to the speakers, while my equally brilliant nannan Mavis helped run the stand.

I also managed to listen to the speakers – and my goodness they were absolutely sensational.

The guest presenter Christa Ackroyd was amazing – as well as being lovely and kind to me – and Natasha Sayce-Zelem (from the event sponsors Sky), Jane Bytheway, Jo Tomlinson Jo Maltby and Dally Purewal were truly inspiring.

So too were two other ladies, Ashleigh Porter-Exley and Sarah Valentine Bull, who joined me as being ‘Barnsley lasses’ on their home turf!!

I have known BBC’s Young Apprentice winner Ashleigh in particular – ever since she presented me with my Barmy Bunting I Know I Can awards when I was at Horizon Community College. She is a true inspiration to be, and someone I am now privileged to call a friend.

Her speech was brilliant, as the others were, and that made me nervous. Well, a bit anyway!! How would my speech go? Would my Prezi presentation work okay? Would people like my Barmy story?

Thankfully – all went well. I was immensely grateful to Christa, who gave me such a lovely introduction! And I didn’t make any major mistakes, ha ha, and I think people liked it.

I have a brilliant, Barmy family, and that was proved by my nannan, who almost ‘gatecrashed’ Christa on stage at the Yorkshire Business Festival – to show off our new gingerbread women bunting!


All in all, the event put Yorkshire, Barnsley and business ladies in a fantastic light. I loved being part of it!

Here are some more pictures from a memorable day: