I’ve always wanted my own business.
I remember being asked at school to write about a person who I found inspirational, and I wrote about my Granny - ‘Diana Chudley’. Diana was an amazing person – she started her life in an orphanage, fortunately was adopted by a wonderful lady, and went on to have an incredible and successful life.
Diana always loved animals, particularly horses. Her first business was offer rides in her pony and trap. She would also collect up and sell the manure to local people for their gardens!
Diana also loved children. She and my Grandfather had 9 children. The need for a larger house with land led them to buy a beautiful but derelict 17th Century Northamptonshire Coaching House.
The house had fallen into disrepair after the son of the previous owners had very sadly died on the last day of the 2nd World War - just before his parents had intended to give the house to him. My Granny promised the owners that she would look after the house and bring it back to its former glory and eventually they agreed to sell it to her. ‘Highgate House’ was carefully and lovingly brought back to life.
Diana regularly had Bed and Breakfast guests. The people that stayed loved the family atmosphere and delicious home cooked food and often would stay for some time and return.
One day, a guest asked if he could have a business meeting at the house. Diana saw an opportunity and began to develop rooms that could be used for meetings - Highgate House became one of the first Conference Centres in the country and remains a successful business over 30 years on, continuing with the same original values that Diana started the business with.
My Granny was way ahead of her time. I remember so clearly looking up to her and hoping I would one day be able to start my own business, just like her…