FLINTSHIRE Council and the Leader asked you to nominate businesses in Flintshire that have been working hard to bring you products and services during the last year of the coronavirus pandemic

You inundated us with nominations for businesses that have not only worked to provide services as usual, but who have gone above and beyond to support their customers and communities.

With lockdown measures likely to gradually to ease in the coming months, we are spotlighting those businesses that kept us going through the difficult times.

One such business is Helle's Sweet Occasions, the winner in the village services and facilities category.

Helen Aitken, of Mancot, has been providing chocolate and business gifts for almost nine years - bringing a smile to people's faces whatever the occasion.

But more recently she has been supplying afternoon teas, which people have been keen to purchase for loved ones during lockdown.

Fully insured and Environmental Heath graded, Helen's tasty treats are a personal gift that can really make someone's day during these challenging times.

Helen said: "Afternoon teas have been very popular. I've always done sweets, like chocolate bouquets and hampers, but I've been a chef all my life and someone suggested trying afternoon teas. It has gone berserk!

"A lot of people do it has a gift. We had one in Shotton today and a lady had ordered it for her mum. Her mum just burst in to tears and said 'it's so lovely'. It does make you feel good to see that kind of reaction.

"It's lovely to know that it is appreciated. I do take pride in what I do. People are often ordering it for loved ones and I want it to look nice for them and for them to enjoy it."

Helen added: "Thank you to everyone who nominated me."

Helen has also been delivering homemade meals that people who are unable to get to the shops can heat up at home.

We received dozens of nominations from people who wanted to celebrate Helen and her business.

One said: "Helle's Sweet Occasions has been a shining light in the community, providing sweets and treats for families, supporting with creating gifts when shops were unavailable for things like birthdays, Christmas and thank you gifts for front liners and third sector workers.

"Working extra long whilst living with chronic pain herself, Helen also began to make home-cooked meals for local residents in need and has been flying around all over the place delivering all of her goodies. She deserves a medal for all she does."

Another said: "I have used this service on multiple occasions during lockdown and every time they have put a smile on mine and my families faces. Absolutely brilliant! Nothing is too much trouble and Helen will never ever let anyone down and always works hard to support her community."

Another added: "Helle is like super woman! Throughout this pandemic she has spread so much happiness with afternoon teas, food delivery, volunteering, help for the elderly, catering even just checking on people to see how they are and spreading the love, she is amazing.

One long-standing customer said: "I've been using Helle's Sweet Occasions for the last four years. She has gone out of her way to help me and my family, especially since the Covid 19 pandemic. Helen has delivered afternoon tea for two to my elderly parents who are both in their 80's and who are both shielding. This has brought great joy to both of them, who have been feeling down on many occasions."

Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/Hellessweetoccasions