IT has been a stressful 12 months for Celia Gaze, owner of the Wellbeing Farm in Edgworth.

But, unlike her old job which forced her to sign off on the sick, she says her stress today is positive and driven by her passion to create the perfect sanctuary to relax and unwind.

Ms Gaze has seen the farm boom in the past 12 months, and has won several awards along the way.

Only six months after opening its doors, the farm won a Gold Green Tourism award in the Green Tourism Business Scheme, which is the largest environmental accreditation body operating within tourism in Europe.

The farm then won Best Use of Local Produce at the 2013 British Cooker School awards, and in April it won a “farming Oscar” in the start-up category of the Countryside Alliance’s North West Awards.

The farm has also been picked by Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis who chose the business as one of his Small Business Sunday winners.

On top of this, Whitehead’s Butchers, which supplies the farm’s meat, won Family Business of the Year in The Bolton News and Bury Times Business Awards in 2012.

The farm opened in April last year by the mum-of-one who came up with the idea after she was signed off her job as a director at the NHS through stress, caused by working long hours and juggling family life.

Ms Gaze, aged 43, transformed the 18th-century building from a rundown farm into a sustainable state-of-the-art events and courses venue, with its own cookery school where people can sample farm life and go walking with llamas.

With the help of her partner Stephen Whitehead, aged 45, Ms Gaze has invested more than £500,000 into turning the farm into a venue for business events and hosts a number of away days, team-building and conferences.

She has also implemented ways to reduce the farm’s carbon footprint and reliance on external inputs by installing a wind turbine.

Ms Gaze said: “I wouldn’t have believed this time last year that the farm would have been so successful so quickly. Starting up a new business is hard, but setting up in a rural area is virtually impossible.

“It’s been a really hard year, full of ups and downs — but more ups thankfully. It just shows that with hard work and perseverance you can make things work.

“There were times that I thought we wouldn’t survive, but we got through and we have a really exciting year ahead of us.

“A lot of people would have given up because it can be frustrating, but I’ve always said you need either guts or madness — or maybe a bit of both.”

She added: “I’m really happy with the awards we have received in such a short space of time — the Gold Green Tourism Award and the Best Use of Local Produce Award at last year’s British Cooker School Awards just to name a couple.

“But going down to the House of Lords to pick up the Countryside Alliance Award was definitely a highlight. Sipping wine on the terrace waiting to go and receive it was amazing.

“Another accolade we have won is from Theo Paphitis from Dragons’ Den. We were one of his Small Business Sunday winners, meaning we receive tips from him regularly, which is invaluable.”

Talking of the stress, Ms Gaze said: “Stress created by yourself is called passion. It’s channelled through what you love and, for me, the fact that I can do this makes it all worthwhile. It is totally different when you work for a big company.

“If I have an idea now, it can be implemented that day — whenever I want. But before there were so many people I had to go through and hoops I had to jump through before anything was done, which was very frustrating.

“Thankfully, that’s now gone away. I think this is why I have been able to achieve so much at the farm.

“Yes, I still get stressed, but it’s positive — I’m doing what I love and hopefully making a difference to others at the same time.”

After a good first year, Ms Gaze is aiming for an even better second.

She said: “We have a really exciting year ahead of us.

“We have our first wedding in July and hope that will encourage more to choose us for their wedding venue.

“Plus, we are doing some educational sessions for schools about nutrition and farming.

“As of September, the curriculum is adding more about food and nutrition so that children know more about what they are eating.

“So, we have invited schools in the North West to take part in our session on July 2 to give the children and teachers first-hand advice and guidance about farming and where food comes from.

The most exciting thing we have in our diary is an open day on July 8, which is our one-year anniversary of being open to the public.

“We’ll have a cookery demos, a barbecue, a Punch And Judy show and, obviously, walks with the llamas, and children can come and say hello to all the animals. It’s nice and relaxing fun.

“It’s good to know that I feel better, but I also hope that I can help others feel better too.”