Dame Margaret Barbour, the founder of the world-famous clothing brand, won the Spirit of Everywoman award earlier this month (3 December).

The annual NatWest Everywoman Awards celebrate the success of female-owned businesses across the country.

Widowed at 29 with a two-year-old daughter, Dame Margaret worked alongside her mother-in-law to run the eponymous brand that bears her name.

The turnover at the time was £100,000; today annual sales exceed £135m, the company has won three Royal Warrants, and employs 800 people.

In the 40 years Dame Margaret has been at the helm she has committed herself to philanthropy, establishing a family trust and the Women’s Fund.

Together they have awarded grants of over £11m to help disadvantaged people in the north east of England, where Barbour is based.

The awards ceremony at The Dorchester Hotel was attended by some of Britain’s best known business owners included awards patron Dame Mary Perkins (Specsavers), Chrissie Rucker (The White Company), Cath Kidston and Amanda Wakeley.

“It takes a bold and gutsy individual to start a business and today’s winners are all women with vision and determination, qualities that have contributed to their success,” said Maxine Benson MBE, everywoman co-founder.

“Some have businesses that are household names, others will achieve that recognition in the future. All are joined by a common goal to succeed and to inspire.”

Anne McPherson, managing director, Enterprise at NatWest said: “These awards have created some amazing role models who inspire other women to take their first steps in realising their business ideas.”

NatWest has been sponsoring the annual awards for twelve years.

For more information visit www.everywoman.com/eawards