North Walsham business wins contract with Harvey Nichols

From North Walsham to one of the country's most prestigious stores – a businesswoman is set to see her preserves go on sale in London and other big cities.

Trading under the name of My Specialities Limited, a North Walsham based company established in 2006, Lady Jeanette Duggin has won a contract to supply the prestigious store, Harvey Nichols with her Lady Jay's preserves.

Late last year the business relocated from Peterborough to North Walsham and the range of preserves Lady Duggin makes has steadily grown to include Pi�a Colada and Strawberry and English Sparkling Wine, both winners of a Gold Star Great Taste Award 2009 from the Guild of Fine Food, and Lime and Gin and Chunky Orange and Whisky marmalades, which were each commended in The World's Original Marmalade Festival competition in 2010.

A new flavour, Seville Orange and Champagne, was launched last year.

Now, after a chance meeting with a buyer from Harvey Nichols at a fine food fair in Harrogate last year, Lady Jay's preserves have gone on sale in Harvey Nichols stores in London, Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh.

She said: 'Getting the contract with Harvey Nicks was lovely, especially after all the work I have put in, it was a big boost. It brings Norfolk food suppliers to the fore, introducing a touch of the exotic to the breakfast table.'

Lady Duggin first came up with the idea for the business in 2003, when she and her husband, Sir Thomas Duggin, a British diplomat who was knighted in 2004 for his services as British Ambassador to Colombia, had returned to the UK on holiday.

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She said: 'While exploring a village in Cornwall I spotted a table of home made marmalades and jams which included lime and gin marmalade. We decided to try it, but to our disappointment it did not taste of either.

'Long experienced as an expatriate spouse living overseas, having spent many years baking cakes and making marmalades, pickles and pies for charity events, and never willing to settle for less than the best, I took the challenge to improve the marmalade.'

Sir Thomas has now retired and the couple have settled back in Britain.

Lady Duggin uses limes from Latin America, oranges from Spain and soft fruits hand-picked by local Norfolk farmers, with premium quality alcohol. She has eight flavours, and intends to bring out another two this summer.

As well as Harvey Nichols, the preserves can be found on the shelves of Big Blue Sky in Wells, Norfolk Farm Shop at the Taverham Garden Centre and the Cockerel Deli and the Showcase Gallery, both in North Walsham.