The winners of the Mercury Business Awards 2013 have been revealed.
Scores of businesses entered this year’s awards competition and the judges handed out the prizes at the gala dinner last night (Thursday) at Greetham Valley Hotel, Golf and Conference Centre.
Mercury deputy editor Mike Roberts, who hosted the awards, said: “It was great to see so many successful businesses last night and the quality of all the entries was excellent.
“Particular congratulations to all the winners who made a huge impression on our judges.”
The top honour of the night - business of the year - went to Education City, based in Oakham, which provides online educational resources for children.
HR manager Kate Sanderson said: “We are so pleased. We have done such a lot of hard work over the last year and it is about the people behind the product. We are one of the largest employers in Oakham and hardly anyone has heard of us.” Head of marketing Sayle Davis added: “There was really stiff competition. It’s good to be recognised in the local community.”
The runners up were The Dent Network, of Stamford, and Human Touch Ambulance Service, of Deeping St James. The award was sponsored by Greetham Valley Hotel, Golf and Conference Centre, and Viking Signs.
The first award of the night was best new start-up, which went to home care service Bluebird Care, based in St Mary’s Hill, Stamford.
Director Tim Carey, who bought his team champagne to celebrate, said: “It is fantastic for such a young company to win, particularly with such stiff competition. When we heard we had won, you can’t put into words what it meant to us. It was so special.
“We would like to thank the Mercury for supporting us and we will definitely be back next year.”
Otters Smokehouse and Deli, of Oakham, and Lily King Weddings of Distinction, of Stamford, were named runners-up. The award was sponsored by Hegarty LLP Solicitors.
The best independent retailer award went to Linfords Traditional Fish and Chips, of Market Deeping
Owner Paul Linford said to was special to be recognised and taken seriously as a retailer. He added: “We do a lot for the community and it is about putting something back into the community, which is something we have always done.”
The runners-up were Stamford Independent Travel and Anand Shoes of Stamford.
Wildcats Theatre School was delighted to win the business innovation category, sponsored by South Kesteven District Council.
Founder Caz Dolby said: “It is really nice to be recognised in the area we all live and work. We would like to say a big thank you to the Mercury for supporting us and to the local community.
“Over the last year we have grown so much and we’ve got our own premises. We have worked really hard to expand what we offer and make sure we offer something for everyone.”
The runner-up in the award was Lily King Weddings of Distinction.
Rutland Veterinary Centre in Uppingham took the award for team of the year.
Practice manager Susanne Thorne said: “We were really surprised and thrilled.
“We are a very close team and we are all good friends, both at work and socially. It is a 24-hour job and the team never complain, they are completely dedicated to the job.
“We would like to thank our judge Robina Hill for her time at the practice.”
The runners-up were Sarah Pope from Thierry Daugeron Catering and Human Touch Ambulance Service.
Anand Shoes, based in High Street, Stamford, won the customer care category.
Owner Manish Chavda said: “We weren’t expecting it at all. When it was announced I couldn’t even get out of my seat, I was so shocked.
“I would like to thank the Stamford Mercury for the support, all our customers who are so loyal to us, and most importantly my family.”
The runners-up were Jones Wedding Car Service, of Stamford, and the Fox and Hounds pub at North Luffenham.
And the lifetime achievement award, which was sponsored by Duncan & Toplis, was won by Peter Spiegl, who founded the Stamford-based printing business Spiegl Press.
On stage Mr Spiegl said: “This comes, I can tell you as a great surprise. Whatever I have achieved has been in the main a great pleasure and I am very grateful to the Stamford Mercury for presenting me with this splendid award. Thank you all very much.”
Afterwards he said: “I was absolutely astonished. I had an extremely good night.”
The finalists are below.
Business of the Year
Education City, Oakham WINNER
The Dent Network, Stamford
Human Touch Ambulance Service, Deeping St James,
Wildcats Theatre School, Stamford WINNER
Lily King Weddings of Distinction, Stamford
Best New Start-up
Bluebird Care, Stamford WINNER
Otters Smokehouse and Deli, Oakham,
Lily King Weddings of Distinction
Lifetime Achievement Award
Peter Spiegl, Easton on the Hill
Best Independent Retailer
Linfords Traditional Fish and Chips, Market Deeping WINNER
Stamford Independent Travel,
Anand Shoes, Stamford
Customer Care Award
Jones Wedding Car Service, Stamford
Fox and Hounds, North Luffenham
Anand Shoes, Stamford WINNER
Employee/Team of the year
Rutland Veterinary Centre, Uppingham WINNER
Sarah Pope, Thierry Daugeron Catering
Human Touch Ambulance Service, Deeping St James
The Mercury Business Awards 2013 are sponsored by Hegarty LLP Solicitors, Duncan & Toplis, South Kesteven District Council, Greetham Valley Hotel, Golf and Conference Centre, Viking Signs and associate sponsor Larkfleet Homes.