about us

The Wessex Womens Network was founded by Avril Owton MBE in 2003 to encourage and support women in Hampshire and the surrounding areas. The meetings are usually held at the Cloud Hotel in Brockenhurst of which Avril has been the Owner for over 35 years.

There is a growing list of around 100 members at present from the area between Bournemouth and Portsmouth, north to Winchester, with members' ranging from experienced business women to women who are starting their first business venture.

Our meetings are varied and interesting with ourspeakers covering many different subjects. We aim to use our meetings as an opportunity to share our ideas and experiences and to have fun.

There is NO JOINING FEE and the events are priced individually, always including either dinner or a finger buffet.

If you are interested in becoming a member please see our "Join" section and complete the member request form.

In 2008 we created a dedicated Business Directory to help businesses (not just members) gain exposure on the internet. To place your listings onto our directory please follow the instructions under "Submit a Directory Listing".   You will get a listing featuring your company logo or a photograph if required, contact details including email and phone number and a website link. If you do not have a website or if you would like assistance with your current website, please contact Karl Jones at KN Media, creator of this website and a Business Directory member.

Avril Owton MBE

Contact Details:

tel: 01590 622165

email: avril@cloudhotel.co.uk
web: www.cloudhotel.co.uk

Avril Owton MBE

Avril, formerly the owner of the Cloud Hotel at Brockenhurst in The New Forest, Hampshire is a former professional dancer with The Tiller Girls, she took over the running of the hotel when her husband died suddenly at the age of 45, leaving her with an ailing family hotel, four children and no life or mortgage insurance.

Her show business background provided no experience in management, administration, finance, or how to run a business, but that didn't stop Avril. She refurbished the hotel, began to make a significant profit and soon had increased her business turnover 800%.

In 2008 Avril was appointed an MBE for services to hospitality and charities in Hampshire.

  • Appointed an MBE for services to hospitality and charities in Hampshire
  • Honoree Member of the Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World
  • Former Chair of the Institute of Directors (regional)
  • Shine Woman of the Year
  • Hampshire Business Woman of the Year
  • Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality
  • Judge for prestigeous Everywoman Awards (since 2006)


Accolades awarded to Avril include:

Based on her successes, Avril wrote a book entitled "Delighting Your Customers" which is available to buy via Amazon, Waterstones and the publishers website, A&C Black. Please click the direct links below for more information or to purchase.

Amazon.com            ACBlack.com          Waterstones.com

Supporting Charity

Avril is a keen supporter of charities and their work and holds annual fund raising events for her chosen charity, Macmillan Cancer Support, which has been recognised by being appointed an MBE.

For several years, The Cloud Hotel has played its part by participating annually in the World's Largest Coffee Morning which is an event organised by Macmillan Cancer Support which hosts local residents and guests at The Cloud Hotel.

The Macmillan dinner (organised and hosted by Avril) is traditionally held each year in December, with Avril donating all proceeds from this special dinner to improve the quality of life for people living with cancer.To date Avril has raised over £25,000.00 for Macmillan Cancer Support !


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