A NETWORKING guru and grandma from Hartford was ‘thrilled' to be honoured twice in one week by the business community she knows and loves.

Creative Connecting in Cheshire boss, Sue France, is a master when it comes to bringing businesspeople together under one roof.  

The 75-year-old moved to the North West from Newcastle more than 50 years ago to attend the Liverpool School of Art, going on to have a successful careers in childrenswear design, PR, then running a regional networking agency for women in business.

The mum-of-two and grandmother set up Creative Connecting in 2014, and since then has made herself invaluable to business people across Cheshire seeking to further their commercial interests by getting to know one another personally. 

Sue found herself at the Cheshire Club’s Crème de la Crème small business awards at Cranage Hall on Friday, November 17, supporting two of her networking group members, Catherine Sandland and Sarah Pickles, who were each up for an award.

Sue said ‘it was a real shock’ when her own name was read out as winner of the Most Outstanding Achievement Award 2023.

What’s more, less than a week later on Thursday, November 24, she was named Best Networking and Hospitality business person at the Global She Inspires Awards in Bolton.

Speaking after the Crème de la Crème event, Sue said: “I genuinely didn’t have a clue I was even up for an award.  

“It was a real shock, not least because the lady who was running them, Jo Scott-Aspray, does events with networking, just like me.

“I was very touched because it’s quite an accolade to be chosen for an award from someone who does the same thing as you.

“I’m all about helping businesses thrive by connecting people.

“When you build relationships with people at networking events, it’s easier to trust them.

“I just love connecting people. I sometimes stand toward at the back of the room at the end of an event and watch everyone chatting and making friends.

“They don’t event know I’m there. I just love it.”

Sue is also patron of a several charities including the Butterfly Breast Cancer Awards, and Gift Me A Wedding, which helps terminally ill people get married and create wonderful memories at a very sad time.

Cheshire Club founder, Joanna Scott-Aspray, said: “Sue was a pretty easy choice for Most Outstanding Achievement 2023.

“She is a wife, a mother, and a grandma, as well as a fellow networking host.

“We’ve always had a mutual respect, offering the same concept just in our own very different styles.

“At 75 years young, this lady shows no signs of slowing down.”

Other winners at the Cheshire Club’s Crème de la Crème awards:

Outstanding Entrepreneur Award 2023 (sponsored by Rodial Beauty)

Amy Linton – Glossy Interiors

Family Business of the Year 2023 (supported by Sarah Stephens Escapes)

Nicola & Stephen Sands – Applehead Media Ltd.  

Small Business of the Year 2023 (by Flossy the VW Vintage Camper)

Laura Grannell – Stagecoach Performing Arts

Highly Commended

Catherine Sandland – White Hart Training

Charity of the Year 2023 (sponsored by Aqueous Digital)

Rachael Borman – AmaSing Arts Charity Foundation

Female of the Year 2023 (sponsored by Applehead Media Ltd)

Beverley Steele – Steele PR Ltd said 

Male of the Year 2023 (sponsored by Rockstar Spirits)

Marcus Matthews – Make your Life Count 

Best Business Start-Up (two years) 2023 (sponsored by Aga Mortlock Photography)

Teana Lynne & Andy Shelton – The Naughty Badger Bistro 

Highly Commended

Pam Shanker - Pam Shanker Coaching and founder of “The Universe Café (Law of Attraction)

Best Customer Service 2023 (supported by Streetstar Studios)

Catherine Hayden – CEO of Heavenly Homes Cleaning

Community Champion 2023 (sponsored by Pam Shanker Coaching)

Sarah E Pickles – The Butterfly Breast Cancer Awards

Outstanding Self Development & Business Growth 2023 (sponsored by Steele PR Ltd)

Alison Blackler – 2minds

Rising Star of the Year Award 2023 (sponsored by Heavenly Homes Cleaning)

Naomi Victoria – Personally Positive

Audience’s Choice - Most Outstanding & Inspiring Person Award 2023

Lara Besbrode – The Matchmaker UK

Overall Excellence Winner Award (presented by Silk 106.9 FM Radio)

Rachael Borman – AmaSing Arts Charity Foundation