I set up Hopton House B&B near Ludlow in South Shropshire in July 2004. My family and I moved in in March 2004, then we spent a frantic 4 months turning our converted granary from a family home into a 2 bedroomed B&B.
Our first guest was the quality assessor! Despite burning the toast and forgetting her baked beans, she awarded us with 4 stars and a silver award, which was upgraded to a gold award a year later. In 2005 we won bronze in the Heart of England B&B of the year award and silver in the website of the year award category
In 2008 we were upgraded to 5 star gold. We have gone on to improve the B&B gradually over the years, and we are now very successful with great occupancy.
I've discovered that running a B&B is something that I'm rather good at - I'm naturally quite modest and I base this observation on all of the wonderful feedback I've received over the last 9 years.
In my time I've been chair of the South Shropshire Farm Holidays Group and the Local to Ludlow B&B Owners Group, as well as being treasurer of the Craven Arms Business Network and on the South Shropshire Tourism Association Committee. I' ve been an active member of WiRE and was one of their main speakers at their annual conference in 2006.
However, I also need to use my mind and love training people. As you can see I'm a natural networker and believe that we all benefit from colloborating and helping each other rather viewing other as competition. So the B&B courses are an excellent way for me to share what I've learnt - the mistakes as well as the successes, keep my brain in good order and to do things I love to do all from my own beautiful home.
Prior to moving to Shropshire, we lived in Surrey ( though I come from Wordsley in the Black Country originally ) and worked for British Airways. I worked in the IT department for 16 years, with my main focus being on coaching, training and facilitating others.
In 2001 we started visiting Shopshire on a regular basis till it got to a point when Shropshire had become home and Egham somewhere where we worked. That, combined with our daughter's imminent move to Secondary School, made up our minds to leave the South and head to one of the most beautiful counties in England.