Meet the Judges

The Best Small Shops competition judges are made up of industry professionals that have experience working with independent retailers.

Read a little more about each of them below.


Polly BarnfieldPolly Barnfield OBE, Founder and CEO of Maybe*, sponsor of the Best Small Shops competition

The Maybe* platform provides tools that enable organisations to know their customers better, communicate with them efficiently and to measure the impact of their social media activity. Maybe* is one of the companies that have been selected to contribute to the UK Governments High Street Task Force.

Polly was named as one of the 100 most Influential Women in Technology by Computer Weekly Magazine and also founded Give as you Live, a leading non profit fundraising platform.



Mark Walmsley BSS

Mark Walmsley representing booost, sponsor of the new COVID-19 Innovation category

Mark has over 44 years of retail experience in multiple sectors from natural cosmetics to motor bikes and a variety of business formats. He has operated his own business support operation focused specifically at independent retail for 21 years.

Mark is a strong advocate for partnership and modernisation of trade bodies, developing the role they can jointly play in the future of indie retail, with a specific focus upon consumer engagement solutions to better compete with the larger retail chains. booost is an example of a unique innovation for indie retail, launching late 2020, booost is proud to sponsor the best Covid-19 innovators awards.



Amanda Fergusson

Amanda Fergusson, Chief Executive Officer of Greeting Card Association

Amanda has worked in the UK greeting card and gift industry for over 30 years, latterly as Sales and Marketing Director at Caroline Gardner, a design-led card and gift company, previously she held senior roles at Hallmark Cards and had her own business suppling retailers across London.

Passionate about supporting independent retailers, Amanda was delighted to be asked to join the judging panel of the Best Small Shops competition. The GCA welcomes indies as members and has many initiatives to help them build card sales.




David Gold

David Gold, Economic Development Officer for Spelthorne Borough Council

David has always had a passion for retailing and for the past eleven years has been working with independent retailers helping them grow their sales, profit and having a sustainable business.

David joined Spelthorne Borough Council as an Economic Development Officer in August of this year. Part of the role is looking at helping independent retailers during these difficult times and looking at attracting more people to the high street.






Meryl HallsMeryl Halls, Managing Director of the Booksellers Association

Meryl was appointed Managing Director of the Booksellers Association of the UK and Ireland in April 2018, having worked at the BA in a variety of roles for over 30 years.

Meryl has been central to the success of many BA initiatives of the last two decades, as well as being a key driver of high street consumer campaigning on behalf of booksellers, helping establish and develop the Books Are My Bag campaign. Meryl also sits on the Policy Board of the British Retail Consortium, the London Book Fair Advisory Board, and is Vice Chair of the Independent Retailers Confederation.



Howard Robinson

Howard Robinson, Independents' Day Campaign

Having worked on a number of high profile small business campaigns during his career, Howard is now part of the team that runs the annual Independents' Day campaign, which exists to promote and support UK independent retailers and their role in our communities all year round but culminating each year on Independents' Day itself, July 4th.

Howard has over 30 years' experience of working in PR and marketing for businesses of all sizes, from blue chips to start-ups, including some in the retail sector.