Meet the Judges 2019

More judges are added to the panel throughout the run of the competition. If you are a retailer or a member of the trade press, and are interested in joining the panel for Gift of the Year 2019, please contact

Amanda Fergusson

Business Development Consultant

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Amanda has worked in the gift and card industry for 30 years. She has run her own business and held senior roles at Hallmark Cards and The Andrew Brownsword Collection. Latterly she was Sales and Marketing Director at Caroline Gardner, seeing the business through a period of exciting growth. She has served as a non-executive director for a manufacturing business and as a committee member with the Greetings Cards Association.

a business consultant and mentor Amanda is now focusing on helping small and medium sized businesses achieve their potential. She is also serving on a public sector Independent Monitoring Board, and as a committee member of the Giftware Association.

Chris Beards, Mantons Cards

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Chris is a multi-awardwinning retailer and owner of Mantons Cards in the Isle of Man. He is passionate about independent retail, high quality gifts and greeting cards.
Award wins include British Independent Retailer of the Year and the BIRA National Award for charity fundraising and community work.

Chris shared his views on the competition on our blog.

Fiona Webb, Haskins

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Fiona has a broad wealth of experience having worked for high street retailers, supermarkets, and now Haskins Garden Centres in a gift buying capacity.

Judith Mather, National Gallery

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Judith Mather is currently the Director of Buying and Brand Licensing at The National Gallery Company where she is responsible for the sourcing and profitability of all the products, licensing and business partnerships. 

The responsibilities at the National Gallery Company are to head up the buying and merchandise team where she manages and delivers the 3 year merchandise & Brand Licensing strategy to offer and delight visitors to the National Gallery with exciting, unique and quality souvenirs and gifts and extend brand reach and generate profits to support this national institution. 

Louisa Stott, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

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Louisa has been Head of Retail at Shakespeare Birthplace Trust since July 2016. They have 5 shops - one at each of the Shakespeare family homes, an online shop and print on demand site, and are slowly finding their feet with licensing their fabulous collections. These extremely busy shops are inspired by all things Shakespeare and they hope to provide every visitor to their properties with a high-quality memento of their day.

Before working for the Trust, Louisa worked in other museums and art galleries in the Midlands including Compton Verney, Black Country Living Museum, and Birmingham Museums.

Marianne Shillingford, Independent Retail Expert

Creative Director

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I am a  colour and design expert with over 30 years experience in the interiors industry. I’m looking for exceptional design and quality plus great use of colour and materials.

Nathaniel Mobbs, The National Gallery

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After graduating in Architecture at the University of Liverpool, Nathaniel joined the buying team at Heal’s in 2001, sourcing gifts and seasonal accessories. From there he went to Paul Smith where he developed an eclectic mix of products for their stores internationally.

He has been working for the National Gallery Company since 2011.

Sara Albright, John Lewis

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Sara has worked at John Lewis since she graduated from Birmingham University in 2001 with a degree in textile design. She started out in lampshades and bases, moving to Living and Dining furniture, followed by the Christmas shop, stationery, gift food, wall decor and currently the gift and home and Candleshop department where she has held the role of buyer for the past four years.

Sue Marks, Progressive Gifts and Home

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Sue Marks is the longest serving trade press Editor in the gift industry. She has been at the helm of Progressive Gifts & Home for nearly two decades, bringing a wealth of experience to the role. She is also a regular contributor to Progressive Greetings, Progressive Housewares and Progressive Preschool magazines.

Previously in consumer journalism, she has been Editor of a diverse range of magazine titles to include Popular Crafts, Simply Crafts and Home Cooking.

In addition, over the years, Sue has been invited to be a keynote speaker on gift trends at many of the leading gift and home shows around the world.

With her in depth knowledge of the gift and home industry, and her close connection to retailers, both independent and multiple, she will be judging this year's Gift of the Year entries with a keen commercial eye.

Tina Goetting, The British Shop

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The British Shop, based in Germany, is designed to offer British products and our range enfold fashion, lifestyle, kitchen, home accessories, gardening and much more. They send out a catalogue to their customers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland every six weeks and present a bit of British lifestyle.

Tina has worked for The British Shop for five years now and is responsible for the purchase of non-fashion products. She is an experienced gift retailer with a speciality in recognising the best British products.

Tracey Bearton, Greetings Today

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Coming from a lengthy newspaper journalism background, Tracey entered the world of trade magazines in 2012 as editor of Greeting Today, the largest-circulation trade mag for the greetings industry, which also covers gifts and stationery – all the things good card retailers sell. As a keen card sender herself, with an eye for design honed over many years of dress making, tarting up her Dr Martens with studs and ribbons, and the design and layout of newspapers and magazines, Tracey has thrown herself enthusiastically into the greetings industry.

She has helped judge the National Calendar Awards judge for three years, and in 2016 helped launch the first Greetings Card Awards in the 40-plus-year history of the British Craft Trade Fair, and is continuing to help organise and judge these awards.

Tracey shared her views on Gift of the Year on our blog.