Minister impressed by murder mystery guest

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 2 Dec 2016

SMALL business minister Margot James heaped praise on a Grimsby company at a Downing Street reception.

Emma Fairhall, event manager at Red Herring Games, and Sherlock the Wellowgate firm's mascot, were part of an exhibition within the famous address, held in advance of tomorrow's Small Business Saturday event.

It followed their naming as a top 100 company in the category by the team back in August, as the countdown began to the independents' extravaganza.

The minister, inset, made the experience all the more special with her comments.

"She was so lovely, she had to meet all 25 exhibitors, and she said ours was the most innovative thing she had seen for such a long time," Mrs Fairhall said.

The murder mystery game retailer and event organiser has developed from a back-bedroom operation of managing director Jo Smedley a decade ago, to having a town centre shop, and a huge online presence.

And while business has taken the role play party pieces to Hawaii and Egypt in the past 12 months, the latest venue to be considered for a 'who dunnit' was a winner.

"It was amazing, almost overwhelming," Mrs Fairhall said. "It was Downing Street, there was no tradesman's entrance, you go through security walk up to THAT door and you knock!

"Then you realise you are with a whole bunch of business people and you are trying to be terribly serious about it all, then every so often you'd hear 'oh my, we're in Downing Street!' It was an incredible experience."

The reception also brought a realisation of the level of prestige the recognition holds, having also been a key reason why the national promotional tour rolled into town last month.

Pictured with Santa, in the Red Herring Games shop, are, from left, Emma Fairhall, Joseph Parfrement-Parkes, Sara Beasley, Peter Lee Crookes, Chloe Rose and Jo Smedley.

Mrs Fairhall added: "I was talking to the Small Business Saturday team while we were there, and I said I presumed they had 101 companies apply (for the top 100). They said actually, in the first year they had 90 and needed 100, this year they had 6,000 apply!"

While 100 were invited to Downing Street, only 25 exhibited, with Red Herring in the elite bunch, having been selected from an application process that delved into company performance.

Mrs Fairhall was granted the opportunity by Mrs Smedley as she is busy writing more work and celebrating a special family birthday in Orkney.

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