KATIE BULMER-COOKE: We do have lots to celebrate

Winners in the Sunderland Echo Portfolio 2016 Business Awards at the Stadium of Light.
Winners in the Sunderland Echo Portfolio 2016 Business Awards at the Stadium of Light.
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Four days on and I am still buzzing from the Echo Portfolio Awards. It was such a brilliant night, and a night that I look forward to every year, as it is a major opportunity to celebrate business in Sunderland, and boy do we have a lot to celebrate. From small businesses and sole traders to large businesses and life time achievement, we really do have an array of success stories in our city.

I was asked to do the after dinner speech, which was a real honour. I shared my experiences in business pre-Apprentice and some of the funny things that have happened to me along the way, and trust me there have been plenty! I managed not to fall off the stage or trip over, two things that have happened to me in the past on more than one occasion...yes I am that clumsy, so that was a bonus!

As well as telling some of my stories, I took the opportunity to say a giant thank you to everyone who supported me while I was on The Apprentice and since.

I know that other candidates from the show were more than a little underwhelmed at the backing they received from their local area.

I on the other hand couldn’t have been more overwhelmed, and that’s what is so special about Sunderland. We support each other and champion our own, and for that we should all be very proud.

Alfie Joey of the Mimic Men was a fantastic compere for the evening (he had a tough job too trying to keep some of the naughty members of the audience, who’d had a few too many sherbets, under control...but he nailed it!) and he very kindly brought along his good friend and star of Game of Thrones, Ben Crompton, who was an absolute hoot, so funny and witty.

A massive well done to everyone who was nominated and of course the winners.

Now my advice is to tell the world how good you are, shout about your award from the roof tops and be a shameless self promoter!

So as we look forward to this week, and staying with the theme of business, I can honestly say that I’m working like a crazy person ahead of the opening of my new pop-up shop in The Bridges. Doors open officially on Friday, when everyone will be able to check out the latest fitness fashion lines and pop in and do a fitness class.

We’ve got fantastic instructors teaching a range of workouts that are suitable for all fitness levels, so if you want to check out our timetable, simply download the ‘Katie Bulmer-Cooke’ app in the App Store or Google Play.

This has been a major project for me, and never again will I simply walk into a shop and take it for granted. There is so much work that goes into making it happened, from stock and card machines to the finer details of safety pins for labels and staff rotas.

It’s an exciting adventure and the support of my family, friends, other businesses and people in Sunderland has been second to none.