AN ASHINGTON business woman was awarded runner up in a nationwide search for Britain’s Top Real Role Model.
Deborah Pyner and business partner Tina Michelucci, both in their 40s, were named one of six runners up in the campaign after impressing the judges with their company Sweet Freedom.
Sweet Freedom is a natural syrup sweetener made from apples, grapes and carob.
The foodie friends came up with the idea for the product after winning a contract with Harper Collins to write four low GL diet books.
They said: “We didn’t want to recommend sugar or any of the sweeteners out there, this inspired us to create our own natural sweetener derived from fruit.
“The best thing to do when you want sweetness is to eat fruit but that’s not how the world works, and so we set about harnessing the sweetness of fruit into a practical retail format.”
Tesco, Waitrose, Holland & Barrett, Whole Foods and many more stores currently stock the product.
Celebrity fans of their product include Raymond Blanc.
They said: “Aldo Zilli has also just come out as a fan, recommending Sweet Freedom as his ‘desert island ingredient’ and as part of his ‘perfect kitchen kit’ in two magazines.”
The friends were nominated by Deborah’s sister-in-law Joanne and niece Eleanor.
They said: “Our families and close friends are very supportive not to mention long suffering.”
Tina previously set up and ran a private leisure complex with 50 staff.
Whereas Deborah’s previous job was marketing Covent Garden Market.
There were 110 submitted nominations in total, which were then whittled down to a shortlist of 24 individuals.
The role models were assessed by judges using a number of different criteria.
Deborah and Tina said they were ‘really pleased with being nominated’.
The joked that it gave them the opportunity to read something about what they have achieved and go ‘wow that all sounds great.’
They said: “There were some really inspiring people in the competition, we’re delighted to be among them.”
For more information on Sweet Freedom visit: www.sweetfreedom.co.uk.