BlueBella was left red faced yesterday after former MP Ann Widdecombe refused to hand over the Small Business of the Year prize to founder Emily Bendell at the Women of Worth Awards.
The bizarre ‘act of principle’ reportedly took place when Widdecombe, who was handing out awards at the event, discovered the nature of Bendell’s business from a video that played shortly before she walked up to receive her prize.
The former MP, a strict catholic, left it to fellow judge Penny Mallory to present the gong to the lingerie boss, whose company BlueBella stocks lingerie, outfits and accessories, along with a nightwear range.
Bendell told Lingerie Insight: “I have got a lot of respect for everything [Anne Widdecombe] has done. She is a big supporter of female empowerment and of women getting ahead in industry.
“Obviously, it was unfortunate that – for whatever reason – she felt she was unable to present me with the award… It slightly took the shine out of the moment of winning. But, it’s ironic, I got a lot more press attention because of it.”
Widdecombe did agree to have her photograph taken with Bendell, but only on the condition that she did not hold the award.
“Everyone of course has the right to decide what they are comfortable with and what they are not,” Bendell added. “BlueBella, as a business, completely supports that.
“But the award is very different, because that is about recognising business achievements.”
Despite the incident, the BlueBella founder claimed that she greatly enjoyed the overall event and would consider entering for the Businesswoman of the Year award next year.