Sarah means business after battling disease

A YOUNG woman who has overcome a debilitating disease to run a successful business is on the shortlist for a national award. Sarah Allen, 25, from Glebe Road, Letchworth GC, has fought off stiff competition to get to the final 25 of the Barclays Trading P

A YOUNG woman who has overcome a debilitating disease to run a successful business is on the shortlist for a national award.

Sarah Allen, 25, from Glebe Road, Letchworth GC, has fought off stiff competition to get to the final 25 of the Barclays Trading Places Awards, which recognise people who have triumphed over adversity to set up a small business.

Sarah has been running Tumble Tent, a children's soft play area in the Wynd Arcade in Letchworth GC, for just over year, despite having been diagnosed with ME aged 19.

The diagnosis came just after the birth of her son and the illness eventually left her bed-bound.


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But thanks to a combination of medication, physiotherapy and rest, she has got her life back on track, having two more children - now aged three and two - along the way.

She said: "I'll have it for the rest of my life but I can live with it. I'm at the stage where I don't pay much attention to it.

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"The trouble with ME is that a lot of people have it and there's no cure and it's just time.

"It literally is a case of just stopping and letting your body build back up."

Sarah's move from mum to businesswoman came after a trip to the play centre for a party.

She said: "Last year we were just in there for a party for my son. The owner said she needed to sell up for personal reasons.

"My health was better and it was just too good an opportunity to miss. There was so much potential."

Sarah got the keys to the business in June last year, and had to call on family and friends to help give it a makeover before reopening just a few days later.

"We completely did everything in 10 days which was slightly manic but it was good fun," she said.

The business is now going from strength to strength, making more than four times the previous owner's turnover.

Sarah's husband Daniel, also 25, has now left his job to join her as a partner.

They will find out later this month whether Sarah is through to the final 10 of the awards, which would see her going to London for an interview and a glittering awards ceremony.

If she is announced the overall winner, she could walk away with a prize worth £14,000.

Despite the obvious success of her business, Sarah remains adamant that it is other people who are the secret behind it.

"The success of our business is our customers. Our customers are fantastic. They've all become real friends," she said.

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