Burgess Hill Mascots has been nominated for a national award.
The nomination comes after several difficult years for owner Petrina Wickens, of Burgess Hill, a mum of three sons with special needs.
Burgess Hill Mascots is among 190 clubs, classes, and tutors to be short listed from more than 1,200.
Petrina set up the business after being unable to find a children’s party entertainer.
“I bought Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Peppa Pig for the first Christmas party for Christmas Wishes as I was unable to find any entertainment at the last minute,” she said.
The decision proved inspired and she decided to turn the mascots into a business alongside her bear-making parties venture Furry Friends.
But she faced personal problems at the same time.
“Our family has had many problems in the last few years, I had open heart surgery to replace my pulmonary heart valve as I was born with a congenital heart defect.’
“My husband also received a head injury and has lost memory of most of his life and as a result does not recognise most people.” Petrina added.
Before settingup the business Petrina worked as a secretary, cleaner and waitress.
She also founded Christmas Wishes, a charity which collects gifts from businesses and the community for disadvantaged children.
Petrina, said: “We are starting to get back to some sort of normal now and Burgess Hill Mascots is getting busy thanks to word of mouth and Kallikids.”
Burgess Hill Mascots is nominated in the UK Best Party or Entertainment section.
Finalists will be those with the most public votes and the winners will be selected by a judging panel. Voting closes on September, 19. To vote, visit: www.kallikids.com/en/KalliKids/awards2015