Katie Brickle becomes first Madam President of Highgrove Royal Warrant Holders’ Association
Turning 40 has been absolutely fabulous for Katie Brickle as the IG Design Group e-commerce and brand manager has been feted by royalty, charity and runners all in a couple of weeks.
Just days after her big birthday Katie became not only the first Madam President of the Highgrove Royal Warrant Holders’ Association, but also the youngest president yet, then she was presented with the Run Wales Inspiration Award and, on International Women’s Day, she was celebrated by the Velindre Cancer Charity for her voluntary work as a fundraiser and running coach.
“Turning 40 hasn’t been that bad,” Wales-based Katie told PG Buzz, “actually, turning 40 has been amazing!
“I’m extremely lucky to work for a company like Design Group who support me, and allow me to do all this, it’s amazing. It’s all come at once and I’ve not had time to sit back and think about it all yet. It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind.”
Katie has carried out the role of Royal Warrant officer since joining IG Design Group in 2011, and in 2014 was instrumental in the company celebration which included a visit from HM The Queen and HRH The Duke Of Edinburgh to its South Wales factory following the company being awarded a Royal Warrant for wrapping paper to add to the Tom Smith Crackers Royal Warrant first granted in 1906.
The brand owned by IG Design Group UK is still the official supplier of Christmas crackers and wrapping paper to the Royal Household. Katie said Design Group is extremely honoured and proud to design the handmade bespoke crackers that are selected by the Royal Household.
A Royal Warrant of Appointment is a mark of recognition for those who have supplied goods or services to the households of HM The Queen, HRH The Duke Of Edinburgh or HRH The Prince Of Wales for at least five years, and have an ongoing trading arrangement.
As well as Highgrove, there are four other local associations – Windsor, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Sandringham – which are all affiliated with the national Royal Warrant Holders’ Association in London, that is incorporated by Royal Charter with its main objective being to ensure the continued existence of the Royal Warrant as a treasured and respected institution.
In 2015 Katie was voted on to the Highgrove Council and, having been elected vice-president in 2020, at the 2022 AGM she was voted in as president for Highgrove RWHA, with IG Design Group HR director Melanie Jenkins present at the event.
“I should have been president last year,” Katie explained, “but, with Covid, nothing happened, then in February I became the first Madam President, and the youngest-ever president having turned 40 a few days before.”
The RWHA Charity Fund makes grants to local charities that Royal Warrant-holding companies are involved with, and is giving emergency funding to charities badly affected by the current crisis. Katie was able to present Cardiff’s Velindre Cancer Care Hospital with a £2,000 donation from the royal charity towards providing psychology and wellbeing support services for staff and patients during this difficult time.
The Velindre charity’s mission is to support the trust’s provision of world-class research-led treatment, care and support for patients and families affected by cancer, including Katie’s father who the hospital successfully treated for prostate cancer, which is how she became involved with the organisation. She became a fundraiser and running coach, which led to her being appointed as one of the charity’s ambassadors in August 2021.
Even though she chose running as her way of helping, Katie admits: “It’s not something I enjoy! I’d never run in my life but the charity said the biggest thing they needed was fund-raising because they are a self-funded hospital.
“I was quite good at the 0-5k programme and motivating people so I got my coaching badge and told Velindre I wanted to start a running club, and they said to start up a club for patients and relatives.
“We called them Derek’s Dazzlers after Welsh weatherman Derek Brockway and I’ve kept them going for two years running 0-10k – we completed the Cardiff Bay 10k last autumn, raising over £22,000 for the hospital.
“They were the most inspiring people, they would come straight from chemotherapy sessions to running training, they’d have a double mastectomy and still come to sessions, they were amazing, I’m very lucky that I got to coach them so I nominated Derek’s Dazzlers to the Run Wales Awards because they are so inspirational, little did I know they had nominated me!”
Katie is now back on board and ready to welcome a host of new patients, supporters and friends in Velindre’s latest running group, The Velindre All Stars.
On March 7 Katie was presented with the Run Wales Inspiration Award with the citation: “The award goes to a lady who has been a total inspiration to all. Her overwhelming passion and encouragement has instilled a sense of being able to achieve anything in the runners she coaches and she has been a constant boost to their wellbeing and self-esteem. It is, the truly inspirational Katie Brickle!”
And to cap it all, the following day saw the charity announce on social media: “In support of International Women’s Day 2022. we want to celebrate the wonderful Katie Brickle who is a proud fundraiser and running coach for Velindre.
“Katie was recently awarded the Run Wales Inspiration Award for her efforts in training and motivating the Derek’s Dazzlers through their Bay10K experience last year. Katie is not just a coach, she is a passionate fundraiser, a support system and a friend to many.
“We are so grateful for Katie’s continued support and passion for Velindre and are so pleased to see her receive recognition from Welsh Athletics, it is thoroughly deserved!”
Katie added: “I am very proud and honoured to have achieved all this, and be part of such prestigious and rewarding activities. I’m also very lucky to be supported by my employer Design Group. Most recently I have become the brand manager of its Eco Nature brand, a carbon-neutral brand, created locally and supplied nationwide.
“I’m thrilled to be part of a business that is making a difference by producing carbon neutral, recycled, sustainable and ethical products from the UK. The values of Eco Nature are embedded at all levels of the business. We are delighted that Eco Nature is growing, sustainability is not a trend. Tesco was an early adopter and now a mainstream supporter of the Eco Nature brand offer.”
Top: Proper dazzlers – Katie (third from right) with Derek’s Dazzlers