Earlier this year we were delighted to reveal that Hotter had been honoured with a Queen's Award for Enterprise.

This coveted award was achieved for our successful international trade, because nowadays Hotter shoes are stepping out all over the world from the US and Germany to The Middle East and South Africa.

Our staff across the UK celebrated the announcement with a red, white and blue themed party in all our stores and our Lancashire headquarters. But the honour of meeting Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip was given to Hotter Founder Stewart Houlgrave and Comfort Club Editor Mel Killilea. The pair stepped into the royal residence Buckingham Palace in their favourite Hotter shoes to mix with the Royal family, MPs, dignitaries and other winners of the Queen's Award in July.

"I'd like to thank all our customers for their loyal support which has helped us grow from a slipper maker to the UK's biggest shoe maker," said Stewart. "And thanks too to each and every member of staff who has worked so hard to deliver our vision of providing outstanding comfort and quality in our products and service."
The Day I Met The Queen

By Mel Killilea, Comfort Club Editor who joined Hotter in 1999
When the regal looking envelope arrived on my desk marked 'Buckingham Palace' it began to sink in that I was going to meet Her Majesty the Queen, the gold edged invitation complete with instructions and protocols really did make it official.

With several weeks to go it was filed to the back of my mind, but one thing was certain I knew exactly what I'd be wearing on my feet for the special occasion - just which pair to choose?

I challenged our design team to come up with a special red, white and blue pair, for patriotic dash! But was persuaded that I may struggle to find a matching outfit (those special shoes may turn up at some point though so watch this space). Having selected a summery blue and cream outfit I teamed it with my favourite vintage style Valetta with a matching Portia bag.

Nerves on the morning of the reception soon gave way to excitement as we approached the Palace and passed through the gates - after being stopped by a curious couple who wanted to know the full story of why we were getting such special treatment. After a few quick photos, we entered the Palace and climbed a plush, wide staircase, with red carpet - I felt very much the VIP!

In the reception area we mingled with other guests, in rooms with sparkling chandeliers and atmospheric portraits of former Kings and Queens whilst footmen and women discretely served us exquisite canapes and drinks.

Without announcement a queue formed into the next room and just ahead we could see Her Majesty. As we reached the front of the queue we handed our card to the footman, who announced us in turn. I managed a quick curtsey and a 'Good Evening Ma'am', to this wonderful lady who made me feel so welcome with a beautiful smile and twinkling eyes. Straight away we were announced to Prince Philip, who asked us if we were wearing Hotter shoes - and of course we were!

As the reception continued afterwards we were joined by several other members of the Royal family including the Duke of York and the Princess Royal, along with MPs, members of the Royal household and dignitaries.

What an honour and a very special day. My lasting impression has to be that in the brief time I met her, our Queen managed to make me feel that I had her undivided attention and I was the most important person there. Considering she was meeting several hundred people that day, that's quite extraordinary.
Celebrating Our Success

When it was announced we had won a Queen's Award earlier this year we turned our
stores and our HQ red, white and blue, from shoe shaped cakes made by Christine from
our factory (pictured centre) to Union Jack goodies in all our stores.
Can you spot your local Hotter store? From left to right: Banbury, Bury,
Aberdeen, Hotter HQ, Truro, Taunton & Hotter HQ.