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Hammie Tappenden MBE (R) with HM Lord Lieutenant Major General Sir Martin White

It was an amazing day of celebration and surprises on Saturday when Hammie (Elizabeth) Tappenden was presented with the MBE by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant, Major General Sir Martin White KCVO CB CBE, at a special ceremony held at Porchfield Cricket Club.

In a room beautifully laid out as the setting for a vintage afternoon tea party with vases of sunflowers on every table (in memory of Hammie’s late mother), family, friends and many of the people whom Hammie has helped set up in business over the years, gathered for the formal presentation of the MBE.

HM Lord-Lieutenant, Major General Sir Martin White addressed Hammie saying:

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“This presentation is on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen and recognises 6,000 people, 25 years, 800 businesses helped, and so a remarkable record and it is national recognition for your achievements, and you have my congratulations on behalf of Her Majesty.

“It is quite unusual for the Lord Lieutenant to make presentations of this sort, in fact, in my 12 years as your Lord Lieutenant, this is the third such presentation, so it is very unusual and it is a great honour for me to do so.”

The Citation was then read by the Vice Lord Lieutentant, Sir Guy Acland, followed by the presentation of the MBE to Hammie by the Lord Lieutentant, to great applause and cheers from all the guests.

Honoured to have been presented with the MBE, Hammie said:

“A little bit of this Award belongs to everyone I have worked with over the last 25 years. Without my fantastic clients who take the risk to go self-employed I wouldn’t be stood here now.

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“I had amazing mentors in the late John Wolfenden of the Isle of Wight Enterprise Agency and Tim Austin of South Hampshire Enterprise Agency who encouraged me when I was quite young, to just get on with it. I’d been running a business myself for several years by that time, and was on a bit of a rollercoaster, but they saw something in me, and helped and supported me on my journey. I also received great encouragement from Liz Wood who has also been part of my journey, and who persuaded me to get my Masters Degree in Entrepreneurship.

“With my clients, I listen, I challenge, I laugh, I cry, I hug, I create, I share, I believe, I help, I care and I fight.   I refuse to put people through a uniform process, instead I work with them as individuals, recognising their individual needs.  I’m rubbish at maths, I can’t spell, I have a smart car and briefcase as my office – all this makes me a kind of maverick but it allows me to do what I love best.”

“I take individuals on a journey, we don’t know what that journey will be, we don’t know whether it will be successful, we don’t know if they are cut out to run their own business, but I hardly ever turn anybody down.   I share my own rollercoaster life because I think it’s important that people understand that everybody has challenges and need to just take a risk every now and then – and somehow this does create success”.

In an emotional address, Hammie’s daughter, Ellie, then announced that her mum and Rob, who stepped into her life 18 years ago, had secretly got married that very morning! An incredible joy and happiness filled the room for this much-loved and respected family.

Guests at the MBE presentation whom Hammie has helped in business over the years included Dave Pontin of Platform One College of Music, Dr Kim Brown of Nature Therapy, Roger and Dawn Bee of Netguides and Helen and Frazer Cunningham of Tiny Homes Holidays.

Hammie Tappenden of Solent-based Into Biz received the MBE in recognition of her outstanding work in Business Start-Up and Women’s Enterprise across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.  For the past 25 years, Hammie has devoted her time to supporting more than 6,000 people wishing to start up their own business and has helped set up more than 800 businesses in the last ten years.

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