A multi-talented businesswoman and writer from County Durham has been named as a top role-model for women across the country.

Margaret Manchester, of Tow Law-based Durham Hens Limited, was recognised for her important contribution to society, the economy and the local community

She was named one of the UK’s most 100 inspirational female entrepreneurs by Small Business Britain’s ’f.Entrepreneur 100’ campaign.

Margaret founded Durham Hens Limited in 2007 after what had started off as a hobby began to develop into a serious business .

After rapid growth in recent years, the company now has full-time staff and has won a string of awards for the service it provides in retailing quality hens and poultry supplies to the pet and smallholder markets.

As well as selling modern hybrid layers, the company has a breeding programme to help preserve traditional breeds.

It posts rare breed hatching eggs throughout the UK in special packaging.

As well as being a successful businesswoman though, Margaret also has a career as a writer of historical romance.

Her debut novel ‘The Lead Miner’s Daughter’ received excellent reviews and became an international best-seller, with her style likened to that of one of the North East’s greatest writers, Catherine Cookson.

Margaret is also the chairperson for ‘Friends of Killhope’, a charity involved with industrial heritage in the North Pennines.

Under her leadership, the charity was instrumental in saving the last mining headgear in Durham from destruction.

The headframe at Groverake is now a stand-out landmark in a county famed for its mining history.

“It’s an honour to be selected to join this prestigious group of high-achieving female entrepreneurs,” said Margaret. “I’m thrilled.

“I would like to thank everyone at Small Business Britain for their dedication and support.”

Michelle Ovens CBE, founder of Small Business Britain and f:Entrepreneur, said, “Congratulations to all the inspiring women chosen to join this year’s 100.

“Despite the significant obstacles thrown at them in the last year, female entrepreneurship continues to grow and flourish. We need to continue and increase our support for these incredible women and celebrate their amazing strength and success in the face of huge challenges.”



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