SWINDON businesswoman Hilary Coates was presented with a special award by Paralympic gold medalist Helene Raynesford.

This is the third time Hilary has received the Wagging Tails’ Franchisee Of The Year award.

And it follows another year of growth. Hilary’s business has grown by more than 30 per cent for the second year in succession as her dog boarding service continues to attract the demand of owners in the Wiltshire area.

Hilary’s business was listed as one of only three within the Wagging Tails network to achieve gold status, a level reserved for the few businesses that have achieved a specific scale of service.

Hilary was presented with her award at the Wagging Tails 2017 Conference by 2008 Paralympic Rowing gold medalist Helene, who had earlier given an inspirational talk to attendees.

Hilary said: “It is an honour to win this award and to receive it from someone as inspirational as Helene made it even more special.

“Listening to Helene talk about what it took to win her Paralympic gold medal and then how she was able to use these skills to remain so positive in her fight against cancer was truly humbling.

“She really made me believe that anything is possible.”

Jim Suswain, the director of Wagging Tails Ltd, said: “Hilary is so passionate about providing the highest level of service to dog owners in her local area, and making sure their pets receive the very best care possible.

“We are immensely proud to have her in our network.

“And this accolade is just reward for all the hard work that she has put in over the past year.”

In addition to developing her dog boarding business Hilary also recently ran her second Take The Plunge charity event.

This saw 30 hardy volunteers rescued by Newfoundland dogs from South Cerney Lake, in Gloucestershire.

The successful event raised more than £5,300 for Wagging Tails charity partner Hearing Dogs For Deaf People.