Pembroke: Supplier shows her fibre

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THE LANGHAM HILTON HOTEL in London was awash with women yesterday as a crowd of 200 gathered for the Cosmopolitan achievement awards.

Forty of them were the judging panel, which included Ann Robinson of the Institute of Directors, Yve Newbold of the Hanson conglomerate, Lady Archer, the scientist and wife of Jeffrey, and the newsreader Moira Stuart.

Scooping the entrepreneur of the year award, Diane Harding proved the start of a recession is not necessarily a bad time to start a business. She founded her fabrics and wallcoverings company, Wilson Wilcox, four years ago. Now she has sales of pounds 4m and a string of big- name clients including Marks and Spencer.

'People told me I wouldn't last six months,' she said.

THEY MAY BE 'old and bold' but Brian Winterflood's merry men still can't avoid the flu bug. The veteran market-maker found his troops seriously depleted the other night at the annual thrash for the old boys of Bisgood Bishop, the securities house bought by County NatWest during Big Bang.

The flu left a few spare glasses at the ICA, I understand. Mr Winterflood, who now has his own firm, Winterflood Securities, is thinking of moving the 'do' to the autumn to catch his old pals in more robust health.

FRENCH CULTURE - all fine wines and posh frocks - got its first dose of Essex culture yesterday when a John Bull pub opened in Toulouse. Tony Trigg, chief executive of Allied-Lyons Retailing, which dispenses the Essex brewery's finest, has been spreading the word throughout Eastern Europe.

Now, satisfied that the Russians, Czechs and Poles have enough brass fittings and steak and kidney pies, the companyhas targeted Toulouse as John Bull's first base west of the old Iron Curtain. 'It is a strong rugby base, so we thought it was a good place to start,' says an Allied spokesman.

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RICHARD REAY-SMITH, chief executive of Barclaycard, made a bit of a pig's ear of his speech yesterday when he announced Barclaycard's credit card venture with Ford.

'As you will soon see,' he told the assembled throng, 'today's announcement is not only about the launch of a new credit card. It announces the bringing together of two of Britain's biggest brands - Barclaycard and Fraud.'

'Sorry, that should be Ford,' he said quickly. A Fordian slip perhaps?

Life has been kind to Robert Gunlack since he took voluntary redundancy from a highly paid partner's job at Price Waterhouse last year.

In less than two years he has amassed half a dozen non-executive directorships, including Clinton Cards and Bloomsbury films. Yesterday he was unveiling the half- year results of Break for the Border, a bar-restaurant chain in London, which he chairs.

When he is not juggling his jobs portfolio, he potters around on the tractor his mother gave him at his six-acre house in Haslemere, Surrey. No regrets about leaving PW? 'Absolutely none. I've been happier in the last 18 months than I've ever been.'

And still with that redundancy cheque to spend, presumably.

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