A FLEDGLING firm in Bolton, dedicated to keeping the home fires burning, will fly the flag for Greater Manchester later this month.

A Year of Dates, established by Kate and John Greenhalgh in Heaton, was a heat winner in the north west Chamber Business Awards.

This has qualified the couple to represent the region at the national finals in London on November 28.

Their triumph has capped off a stellar third year for the venture, which makes a virtue out of ensuring couples have imaginative nights out.

Earlier in 2019 the e-commerce outfit was showcased by business tycoon Theo Paphitis as part of his influential Small Business Sunday initiative.

Behind their flourishing online was a quite simple idea.

John gave Kate a glass jar containing 52 ideas for dates, which could be used weekly for outings and events.

The couple would then have seven days in which to plan and execute the date, before moving onto the next.

Kate said: "The gift really helped us make time for each other – we both worked full time and our evenings were often spent working or in front of the TV.

"The cards gave us ideas and saw us go for picnics, try new restaurants or play board games – most importantly we laughed together lots and had loads to talk about."

Each of the pairing could bring different talents to bear on the e-firm, with Kate's flair as a former graphic designer and John's IT knowhow both being put to good use.

He was able to fashion a blog which dispensed with the need to bring in outside developers.

Another plank of their plan, they say, has been selling through the online marketplace Not on the High Street, where they sold 2,000 units in just over a month.

Their product range has grown to include birthday gifts, boxes with ideas for new parents, and wedding anniversary accessories. More products are planned.