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Mum who quit desk job to follow balloon-making passion in line for award

PUBLISHED: 19:00 29 June 2020

Emma Nettleton's children trying out some of her amazing balloon creations. Picture: EMMA NETTLETON

Emma Nettleton's children trying out some of her amazing balloon creations. Picture: EMMA NETTLETON

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A Mistley mum-of-two who quit her desk job more than two years ago to follow her passion of balloon-making has been nominated for a regional children’s entertainment award.

Emma Nettleton has been nominated in the 2020 East of England Event Entertainment Awards. Picture: EMMA NETTLETONEmma Nettleton has been nominated in the 2020 East of England Event Entertainment Awards. Picture: EMMA NETTLETON

Emma Nettleton was inspired to take up the craft when her mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 and told her to live her life with no regrets.

Since then, Emma has turned her hobby into a successful business - making balloon creations and doing face painting for children’s parties.

MORE: What makes someone quit a job in finance to do balloon making?

“I have never been nominated for an award before,” she said. “I got told in April and it is amazing just to be nominated really.

The mum from Mistley is making more centrepieces during lockdown. Picture: EMMA NETTLETONThe mum from Mistley is making more centrepieces during lockdown. Picture: EMMA NETTLETON

“I only applied because at first I felt a bit wasted in lockdown.

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“Summer is usually my busiest time of year so I had a lot of parties and events booked in which I then had to cancel and refund people for.”

The 34-year-old has been nominated for the 2020 East England Event Entertainment Awards in the Best Children’s Entertainer category, where she is up against 14 other talented entertainers who offer a range of activities.

Emma's personalised centrepieces have been selling well to adults and children who have had birthdays during lockdown. Picture: EMMA NETTLETONEmma's personalised centrepieces have been selling well to adults and children who have had birthdays during lockdown. Picture: EMMA NETTLETON

MORE: 2020 will be the summer of drive-in entertainment

Emma isn’t just limited to children’s events though. During lockdown she has been commissioned for even more balloon jobs, generally for people celebrating their birthdays at home who are missing that big party feeling.

“I have been asked to do a lot of numbers and centrepieces,” she added. “I think people miss being able to do the fun activities, so instead they want to get lots of decorations and make it as special as possible within their house – kids especially find decorations really important for birthdays.”

The entertainer also does face painting but she is worried this won’t be possible for a very long time and probably won’t happen until there is a vaccine for coronavirus.

Emma takes commissions to create personalised centrepieces for birthdays. Picture: EMMA NETTLETONEmma takes commissions to create personalised centrepieces for birthdays. Picture: EMMA NETTLETON

She added: “We are touching people’s faces and even if we wore PPE, I don’t think the kids would like it. They get a bit nervous sometimes as it is and they won’t like it if there’s someone in a plastic visor with gloves on – they’d find it quite scary.”

The 2020 East England Event Entertainment Awards are decided 50% by public vote and the other half by professional judges. The competition closes on July 7 at 11.45pm and you can vote for Emma online.


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