IT IS only 18 months since she opened the doors of her bed and breakfast at Meadowcroft Barn in Edgworth, but Kath Bullen has already scooped a top tourist award.
The Five Star Gold Award B&B accommodation, overlooking spectacular moorland between Darwen and Bolton, has won the coveted Manchester Tourism Bed and Breakfast of the Year award.
In its short life, the B&B has attracted both businessmen and guests from all over Britain and even as far away as Australia.
But Mrs Bullen says that she has many local people who like to use the B&B for a romantic weekend bolthole.
She said: “I’m so proud to have won this award. It’s just amazing.
"I was shortlisted for the award and went to the Lowry for the official awards evening which was lovely. I was stunned when I won.”
The independent judges were impressed and said: “Kath has put her heart and soul into Meadowcroft Barn and her passion for the business shines through.
“The facilities are in pristine condition and the commitment to using local produce is commendable.
"Meadowcroft Barn has achieved Five Star Gold VisitBritain rating — a phenomenal achievement for a business that has been open for just 18 months.”
Mrs Bullen says there are two distinct markets for the B&B with businessmen using it during the week, and people visiting relatives booking weekends.
She said: “I have a group of businessmen who have been coming for three or four days a week since March and I also have two interior designers from Vienna who say there isn’t anything as romantic in Vienna.”
It is the second major award Mrs Bullen has won for the luxury and tasteful conversion of the former shippon, off Bury Road.
Following her husband’s sudden death, Mrs Bullen decided to invest £150,000 in transforming the old stone building into two high-quality bed and breakfast en-suite rooms with a shared kitchen/lounge.
Shortly after opening, she was secretly visited by a mystery tourism inspector who was so impressed with the standards that he gave her Visit Britain’s top 5 Star Gold Award, as well as an award for the quality of her breakfasts.