Barclays Chooses Bowcliffe as Venue for ‘Yorkshire Women in Business’ Awards for 3rd Year Running

Barclays women on the year

For the third consecutive year, Barclays has chosen Bowcliffe Hall as the destination for their ‘Yorkshire Women in Business’ awards ceremony. The awards, which recognise women and businesses that have made an outstanding contribution to the region, aims to bring together professional ladies to share knowledge and ideas, helping to grow the Yorkshire economy.

Barclays women on the year

Bowcliffe Custodian, Jonathan Turner, said:

“We’re delighted Barclays decided to hold their Women in Business awards at Bowcliffe for the third year. Our facilities and spaces make holding an event here a talking point before the day has even really begun, plus the events and hospitality team never fail to make sure each ceremony is incredibly well-organised from start to finish. Combine all that with our various business interests in the region and the fact we’re huge advocates for investing in talent and business in Yorkshire and it’s the perfect setting for the annual awards. It was a pleasure to be asked to be a judge for the occasion. Women from all sectors across Yorkshire are securing key roles in larger companies and it’s a great way to recognise exceptional achievements for the contribution they are making – this year was as inspiring as ever.”

Barclays women on the year

The day kicked off in the Blackburn Wing, where guests enjoyed drinks and networking with a vista view across some of Yorkshire’s finest farmland. They were then invited across to the decadent ballroom, where speeches were made and winners were announced.

Barclays women on the year

Rachel Reeves, MP for Leeds West, was one of the speakers at the awards dinner and made a poignant address to the room, saying:

“There are now a record number of women in Parliament after the General Election, but just like the world of politics, the business world has much to do when it comes to giving women a fair deal.

“Boardrooms are still dominated by men and the pay gap between men and women remains unacceptably wide.

“These awards are an excellent chance for businesswomen from across Yorkshire to network, share ideas and knowledge. Celebrating their achievements is an important way we can mark the success of women in business today, and the future successes that I am sure will follow.”

Other speakers included the inspirational Beth Morton from ‘Row Like a Girl’, the first and fastest all-female group to row across the Atlantic Ocean and Gill Marchbank, COO at ResQ.

The awards attracted 83 nominations, which were whittled down to 22 finalists by an independent judging panel that included Amanda Shea of Harrison Spinks – a winner from last year’s awards, Bowcliffe’s Jonathan Turner, CEO at Bayford Group; Andrew Smith of Endless LLP, and Alison Page of DLA Piper.

Award categories included: ‘Woman of the Year SME Business’, which was presented to Belinda Williams of The Yorkshire Provender Ltd, ‘Woman of the Year Medium Business’, a prize scooped by Mandy Atkinson, the financial director for Hesco Bastion Limited, ‘Woman of the Year Large Business’, won by Linda Clarke, the marketing and digital director of MKM Business Supplies in Hull, ‘Rising Star’, an accolade that went to Shirin Kemp, the marketing director at Pace Communications for her previous role at KCom, Suzanne Robinson, the managing partner for EY in Yorkshire and the Humber, was named as ‘Professional Woman of the Year’ and Caroline Harrison, from Bradford-based Aspire-igen, was named as ‘Woman of the Year’ for her contribution to diversity and citizenship.

To discuss holding a corporate event at Bowcliffe Hall, please get in touch with our events team by emailing Regardless the size or type of event, our team endeavor to provide you with the very best ideas, hospitality, and catering.

Five minutes with… Laura Shinkfield, Bowcliffe Senior Events & Hospitality Manager

Laura Shinkfield

Our Senior Events & Hospitality Manager, Laura, only joined the team at Bowcliffe in June, yet already her impeccably high standards are a perfect match for the ‘Bowcliffe’ experience. We took five minutes with Laura to find out why losing your head in the events business simply isn’t an option, why weddings mean so much, and three things we might never have known about her…

Name: Laura Shinkfield

Position: Senior Events & Hospitality Manager

When did you start working at Bowcliffe Hall and what made you apply for the position?

I began at Bowcliffe in June so I’m a relative newbie! I initially applied because as a venue there is simply nothing like it, and for someone in events it’s a treat to be able to work here. But, on getting to know the people and the ethos, it has become clear that the real reason it’s so great to work at Bowcliffe is that as a team, everyone is incredibly proud of what they offer. In previous employment, I fought to bring the standards of service to where they should be, but at Bowcliffe you already have the backing of the senior management and of course, JT (Jonathan Turner – Bowcliffe’s Owner and Custodian), it makes my job so much more enjoyable.

Tell us a little about your education and career history to date – how did you end up at Bowcliffe Hall?

It was very important to me from the get-go that I didn’t fall into a job that meant sitting behind a desk for 12 hours a day. After hours of scrolling through University courses, I finally came to Events Management. One trip to Leeds Beckett University – the UK Centre for Events Management – sealed the deal for me! The campus was amazing and attending lectures and seminars was never a chore. Since then I’ve always known exactly what I wanted to do.

I began working at Yorkshire Sculpture Park at 14 years old and continued there for the next nine years, working my way up from catering assistant to wedding and events coordinator. Like Bowcliffe, Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a unique venue and it’s perhaps for that reason that I decided I needed to widen my experience into other industries. Leading me to Woodlands Hotel in Leeds and Huddersfield Golf Club – The Home of Yorkshire Golf. In the end, though, it’s the ‘wow’ venues that really interest me – so here I am.

What does a standard working day look like for you at Bowcliffe?

A standard what? Haha, I’m sure it’s an expected answer but there really isn’t such a thing in events, especially not when you work at Bowcliffe! You do have a rare day where you spend a lot of time answering enquiries, but Bowcliffe is usually a hive of activity from the moment you step inside the door. One minute I can be working with couples planning their wedding, the next I might be organising a large corporate event, intimate dinner party, wine tasting or a huge themed birthday party. I love to be busy, so the mix of admin and operational tasks really works for me.

Laura Shinkfield Bowcliffe Hall

What is it that you think makes Bowcliffe such a special place to hold an event?

Bowcliffe is utterly unique, there is honestly no place like it. There’s something for everyone here.

With all the various aspects of the day, weddings must be amongst the most challenging events to get right. You previously worked as a wedding and events coordinator, tell us, how do you make sure every couple gets the very best on their big day?

The important thing is to be completely honest with the brides and grooms from the start. The great thing about Bowcliffe is that we can be flexible. We do have packages – because that’s what some couples want and need – but if the client asks for something specific, we are more than happy to accommodate. Jonathan Turner, Michael Gledhill (Director of Events) and Simon Crannage (Director of Excellence) are all on board with the idea that we try to accomplish anything a couple wants – the sky is the limit. Planning a wedding is a journey, it’s important to let the client know that you are there to help along the way. Being involved in a wedding from conception to completion is probably the task I take most pleasure from!

Phil Kevin Wedding Bowcliffe Hall

The toughest thing about working in events and hospitality?

Having a good work-life balance. Notoriously events and celebrations happen outside the standard 9-5, it’s par for the course.

The most enjoyable thing about working in events and hospitality…

The atmosphere. Spending months planning an event and then delivering it and seeing how much the guests are enjoying it makes the long hours’ worthwhile.

Phil and Kevin Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Yorkshire

In your opinion, what are the most important questions to ask a person who approaches you about holding an event?

Availability! I’m sure you’ll get some people who would say budget or numbers are equally important – but availability always comes first in my book. In most cases, the client would have a date in mind and you need to be sure you can secure that for them, or find another date that works. After that, it’s about trying to find out as much as you can in that first communication effort. It avoids surprises later!

When you’re juggling so many events and occasions, how do you ensure everyone who books Bowcliffe for their event, receives a personal and truly bespoke service?

It’s really important to prioritise your events but still keep in touch with those who have an occasion that is taking place in the near or even distant future. So, of course, a large event happening in a couple of days time takes precedence, but with my wedding couples, for example, I make it clear that if they ever need anything, all they have to do is ask. Being available for organisers to bounce ideas off or dish out some advice at any time is a big part of the job, plus it’s what sets you apart from just a ‘good’ events manager.

When you’re not at work, where are we likely to find you?

I try not to waste my days off, as it could be a while until your next one. So, I always get up early, go to the gym and catch up with the people closest to me.

What has been a career highlight to date?

Getting my Events Management Degree. Weddings have always been my ‘thing’ having started working on them from such a young age, I even did my dissertation on them! Bowcliffe gives me the chance to work on weddings of a larger scale, the venue is limitless in terms of what we can provide.

UBS Supercar event

Are there any specific personality traits you think are particularly important to do the job well?

Organisation, absolutely. And an ability to get the job done. If there’s a problem, you need to focus on the solution. It’s not a job for someone who is likely to lose his or her head in moments of stress – there are lots!

If you hadn’t ended up working in events and hospitality, what job might you have ended up doing?

I would have probably gone into the public services. My family is very police orientated, although my Dad never wanted me and my sisters to go into the police, which I suppose in the long run has been a good thing, especially as I like to have my nails done!

UBS Supercar event

Tell us your dream event to work on…

In my mind, I’m still at the beginning of what I hope will be a long career in events, so I’m trying to stay open-minded about which I prefer to deliver. The excellent thing about Bowcliffe is I’m constantly working on new and varied things, unlike many country house estates which stick to a niche of weddings or corporates, at Bowcliffe the entire team love putting on pretty much anything from wine tastings, parties, corporate events, weddings or even art installations, auctions, and charity events.

Ask me again in 10 years and I promise I’ll try to give a straight answer!


Three things we would never know about you… 

1.) I love Wimbledon! It would be an absolute dream to be able to go and watch a match.

2.) I own a Dance Association which has 700 members. I co-ordinate 3-4 competitions a year.

3.) My favorite drink is Jameson’s and Ginger Ale – with a slice of lime! (I’ve been to Dublin just a few times!)

Favorite part of the estate…

I love the entire outdoor space. The Estate is so beautiful. Having joined the team in summer I’ve been lucky enough to sit and enjoy the gardens on my lunch break. That said, I can’t wait to watch the Estate gardens change as the seasons do.

Bowcliffe Hall Gardens

Chef Andy Lawson Shares his Great Yorkshire Show Game Recipe

Back in July, Bowcliffe’s executive chef, Andy Lawson, was invited to take part in the Great Yorkshire Show – cooking alongside some of the greatest chefs in the region for some of the 130,000 visitors who flock to enjoy the award-winning livestock, local produce and food delights in a three-day celebration of all things Yorkshire.

Andy Lawson at the Great Yorkshire Show 2017

Andy’s culinary masterclass took place inside the Game Cookery Theatre and he chose quail as the dish’s star ingredient. With compère and leading Yorkshire chef Stephanie Moon watching on, Andy showcased a nose to tail style of eating, cooking the whole bird and wasting nothing – something that is in keeping with the Great Yorkshire Show principles.

Andy Lawson at the Great Yorkshire Show 2017

In a first for the Great Yorkshire Show Game Cookery Theatre, Andy also brought with him a popcorn machine – and with it, he created a side of delicious smoky bacon popcorn.

Andy Lawson at the Great Yorkshire Show 2017

Now the game season is officially upon us, we thought it would be apt to share some footage of Andy at the event, along with the exact recipe for his Great Yorkshire Show ‘Quail and Corn’ dish, we hope you enjoy it! As an aside, make sure you look out for numerous ‘game specials’ in the Drivers’ Club in the coming months, including a rather special venison dish and a pheasant main that’ll have you salivating. See you there!

Watch the Great Yorkshire Show footage, below: 

Andy Lawson’s ‘Quail and Corn’

 Serves two as a starter

  • 1 whole quail – legs and wishbone removed – use the bones to make the quail stock
  • 2 slices smoked streaky bacon
  • 30g popcorn kernels
  • 50g sweetcorn
  • 1 tsp butter
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • ¼ lemon juiced
  • 50ml Sloe gin
  • 50ml quail stock reduction
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar

Prepare the quail by removing the wishbone and legs from the body, followed by the breasts. Keep the breasts in the fridge until ready to cook.

Trim the legs to 1 cm form the top of the drumstick and scrape the meat down to expose the bone and form a “lollipop.” Wrap tightly in clingfilm. Poach the lollipops in simmering water for 45 minutes then chill in the fridge.

Make the sweetcorn puree by simmering the sweetcorn, butter saffron and lemon juice with a splash of water. Once softened blend and pass through a fine sieve, keep the puree warm or keep in the fridge until required.

Pan fry the bacon until crisp, reserve the bacon fat and use to cook the popcorn.

Once the bacon has cooled blend into a fine powder and season the popcorn with the bacon dust.

Reduce the sloe gin to a syrup in a small pan, add the quail stock and reduce down to a syrupy consistency.

To serve:

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, pan fry the quail legs for 3-4 minutes until golden and crisp, add the breasts to the pan and cook for 1 ½ minutes either side, then allow to rest.

Reheat the sweetcorn puree and place a spoonful onto the serving plates and pull into a swipe with your spoon.

Sit the leg and carved breast on top, add the bacon popcorn and more bacon dust if required, drizzle a small spoonful of the sloe gin syrup around the plate and add some peppery baby leaves to balance the dish.

Et voila!