Fifth generation family business scoops IoD Midlands Award 2020

  • Written By: Jasjeet Dhillon
  • Published: Thu, 19 Nov 2020 10:00 GMT

A family-run funeral services business in Derbyshire has won the Midlands Institute of Directors (IoD) ‘Family Business Director of the Year’ award for 2020, sponsored by the Birmingham office of financial and professional services group, Smith & Williamson.

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Wathall’s, which was established in 1858 and now has more than 30 members of staff, accepted the award at a virtual ceremony on 12 November with over 200 viewers enjoying the interactive experience. Finalists were drawn from across the East and West Midlands and represented the full spectrum and diversity of businesses in the region.

Krista Woodman, Tax Director at Smith & Williamson LLP, was part of the prestigious judging panel and had the pleasure of presenting the Family Business Director award on the night.

Commenting on the event, Krista said:

It was a really wonderful ceremony and I felt very honoured to be part of it. At Smith & Williamson, we work with so many inspiring family businesses and so this was a particularly special award for us to sponsor. We understand the unique challenges and difficulties they may face. Balancing the needs of a business and the relationships of its owners can be difficult, particularly in these extraordinary times, so all the finalists should be extremely proud of what they have achieved.

We strive to play an active role in supporting the Midlands’ economy and in helping businesses through these challenging times. Being on the judging panel this year has given me a fascinating opportunity to read about so many passionate Midlands business leaders delivering collaborative and innovative solutions to drive real strategic business growth. Now more than ever it’s imperative we celebrate directors and their achievements and showcase their leadership excellence.

"Congratulations to Helen Wathall for doing such an amazing job and delivering such a high standard of service for her clients at a difficult time.”

Winner Helen Wathall, Managing Director of Wathall’s, said:

It was such an honour to be a finalist in the Family Business sector and we are absolutely thrilled to have been named as the winner. I accept this award on behalf of my whole team at Wathall’s who work so hard to provide the services we offer.

Smith & Williamson would like to congratulate all the winners and every one of those shortlisted.

If you would like to discuss how we can help your family business drive more strategic growth, please get in touch.


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Smith & Williamson LLP is part of the Tilney Smith & Williamson group.
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By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. This briefing does not constitute advice nor a recommendation relating to the acquisition or disposal of investments. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. Details correct at time of writing.

Tax legislation is that prevailing at the time, is subject to change without notice and depends on individual circumstances. Clients should always seek appropriate tax advice before making decisions. HMRC Tax Year 2021/22.

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