Outstanding disabled entre- preneurs were honoured last night at the Spirit of Enterprise awards.
The annual ceremony, sponsored this year by Newcastle law firm Watson Burton, recognises the achievements of entrepreneurs who have either built their own company or who play a key role in a business.
For the first time, this year's top award was shared.
Verona Butler, of Middleton-St- George, near Darlington, and Paula Easton of Barlow, near Blaydon, Gateshead, shared the award and winner's trophy. Each received a week's holiday at the Calvert Trust, Kielder and a cheque for pounds 1,000.
Verona has dystonia, a neurological condition affecting the central nervous system, characterised by involuntary muscle spasms.
In 1999, she founded a charity, Action for Dystonia Diagnosis Education and Research, and has organised conferences, seminars and meetings to raise awareness of dystonia.
Horse rider and instructor Paula Easton was told she would never walk again after a riding accident in which she suffered a spinal injury.
However, within two years she was walking and a couple of months later she began to ride her horse, despite having no feeling in her left leg. …