A DEDICATED worker at a successful Tiptree business is celebrating after being promoted to a leading role.

Donna Smith received a long service certificate marking twenty years of service with Tiptree preserves manufacturer Wilkin & Sons.

She was awarded the certificate from the company’s joint managing director Chris Newenham.

The achievement also made for a double celebration as it coincided with Donna’s appointment as managing director of the sister company Thursday Cottage.

Donna has lived in the Essex village all her life and first joined Wilkin & Sons in 1987.

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She took a break and then returned to the sales team of the main company in 1994.

After this the dedicated worker moved to the jam, marmalade and curd makers at Thursday Cottage where she has become a well-respected “face” of the business.

In recent years she has encouraged the growth in the own label market as well as sales of the firm’s handmade products.

Many of the products received recognition for taste and quality in the Great Taste Awards.

Known as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world the awards recognise products across the UK.

Thursday Cottage picked up three Great Taste awards for its amaretto butter, brandy butter and spiced cherry and cherry brandy jam.

On her passion for the role, Donna said: “I always had an interest in sales and was given the chance at the age of 18 to travel the country promoting Tiptree products.

“When Wilkin & Sons bought Thursday Cottage, I decided to take my knowledge and expertise to grow the Thursday Cottage brand.”

Since joining them she has helped develop a number of products including her favourite blood orange marmalade, some additional curds and introducing the 112g range.

Her love of marmalade has led to the recreation of the award-winning marmalade from the annual World’s Marmalade Awards.

Flora Rider was the best-in-show winner for her Seville orange and orange blossom marmalade at just nine years old.

Thursday Cottage recreated the young winner’s marmalade.

This marmalade is then sold in Fortnum & Masons stores in London and overseas in Hong Kong.