Joy as Solent business mentor Hammie Tappenden is made an MBE and a wife – on the same day

Hammie Tappenden MBE, right, with HM Lord Lieutenant Major General Sir Martin White
Hammie Tappenden MBE, right, with HM Lord Lieutenant Major General Sir Martin White

AFTER 25 years of helping people of all backgrounds into the world of employment and business, an inspirational Solent woman has been recognised by Her Majesty the Queen. 

Hammie (Elizabeth) Tappenden was surrounded by friends, family and past success stories when she was recently made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE). 

The honour, which is usually presented at Buckingham Palace, was the subject of a glamorous ceremony at Porchfield Cricket Club on the Isle of Wight on September 1 – after a special request from Mrs Tappenden. 

It was Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, Major General Sir Martin White, who presented the award – off the back of Mrs Tappenden’s assistance to 6,000 clients and more than 800 businesses over the past decade alone. 

Upon receiving the award for her work in the business start-up women’s enterprise sectors, Mrs Tappenden said: ‘A little bit of this belongs to everyone I have worked with over the past 25 years. Without my fantastic clients who take the risk to go self-employed I wouldn’t be stood here now.’ 

Mrs Tappenden said she was encouraged to ‘just get on with it’ from a young age – heaping praise on to the late John Wolfenden of the Isle of Wight Enterprise Agency, Tim Austin of South Hampshire Enterprise Agency and mentor Liz Wood. 

She added: ‘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.’ 

As the owner of Solent-based In to Biz Ltd, Hammie, 55, previously accepted the the Queen's Award for Achievement in Enterprise Promotion – having worked with those full-time work is often most difficult to achieve – including refugees and people on probation. 

As she added to this honour on September 1, it was announced by her daughter, Ellie, she had also married long-time partner Rob Ford just hours before the ceremony. 

Upon making Hammie an MBE, Lord Lt Sir Martin White praised her ‘remarkable record’ – saying it was a ‘great honour’ to make only his third such presentation in the 12 years he has spent in the role.