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Monday 21 May 2018

Making the Jackie Collins Woman of the Year award for Jacqueline Gold, the boss of Ann Summers

Each year, for the last three years, I've been honoured to be asked to carve this award. It is presented annually by the cancer charity Penny Brohn UK to a woman who is particularly inspiring: not only because of their professional or charity work but also because they have spoken publicly about their fight with cancer.

The recipient in 2018 was Jacqueline Gold, who is the chief executive of Ann Summers. This company sell lingerie and other items to spice up people's love lives, from shops in town centres all over the UK. 

Each award is specially designed for the person who will receive it and this year's was no exception. The charity contacted Ms Gold's Personal Assistant, who told them what things she likes, then that information was relayed to me and informed the first design ideas. 

I used some Lawson Cypress timber (known as Port Orford cedar in the US) from Bristol, as the charity's headquarters are just up the road from the place where the tree grew.

I find that this wood is often easier to carve using power tools than hand tools. No matter how sharp the gouges or chisels, the timber will tear a bit whereas cutting discs and abrasives fitted to power tools give a good finish quickly.

The final design was a rabbit, which was inspired by one of Ann Summers' most famous products. I feel that that the sculpture echoes it in a subtle and fun way. The serene-looking bunny has certainly been a hit at the workshops around my studio and apparently among the staff at Penny Brohn UK. I hope that Jacquline Gold likes it too.

There is a box in the back of the rabbit, suitable for holding small items such as keys, change or batteries. The lid is held on using rare earth magnets and has a really satisfying 'thunk' noise when it closes!

Here's a photo of Jacqueline Gold receiving her award:

Photo credit: Andre Regini


  1. That's a cheerful little creature! The wood looks so smooth and heavy - judging by the dandelion heads, he must be life-size...
    Jacqueline Gold is often cited as an example of female entrepreneurial spirit, but I love the story of her German counterpart, Beate Uhse. Having lost her job as an aviation stunt pilot also serving the Luftwaffe during the war, this woman set up the world's first 'marital speciality' store that initially gave practical advise on sex and birth control in the post-war period to German housewives, but gradually included the sale of far spicier items. Apparently she fled the besieged Berlin, in 1945, in one of the last planes available, piloting this with her young injured son at her feet. I wish a film would be made of her life, which in many ways was inspirational.

  2. She sounds amazing! Glad you liked the carving: it is actually not so heavy, as the timber is quite light. I do have a bit of a soft spot for this particular carving, I must admit.