The winners of the 11th annual Mercury Business Awards were revealed at a glittering ceremony on Friday night.
The awards were hosted by BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Melvyn Prior at Greetham Valley Hotel, Golf and Conference Centre, following a beautiful three-course meal.
At the start of the evening, Melvyn told the packed room: “Our awards recognise the efforts of local companies who have one thing in common - the dedication to achieve excellence. Local businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and we salute you for all of your hard work and determination.”
The first award of the night was the lifetime achievement award, sponsored by Duncan and Toplis. In an unusual move, it went to the founders of local charity Anna’s Hope, Carole and Rob Hughes, and charity patron Michael Vincent was a special guest of the evening to present the prize, along with Duncan and Toplis director Tom Hindmarch. Prior to the event, Carole and Rob had no idea they’d been put forward and were there on the evening to network.
The award normally goes to an individual or business, who has made an outstanding contribution to the success of their business. But judges thought it was important to recognise the hard work of Carole and Rob, who since they founded the charity to support children with brain tumours and their families have raised £1.5m, as well as raising awareness.
Melvyn told the audience: “One of their patrons who is here tonight says he is simply in awe of everything they have done - and we feel the same.”
Hegarty LLP Solicitors sponsored the second award of the night for best new start up. Arbor Heat and Power were named the winner, while Little Lane Nursery and Buzz Social were highly commended.
The third award of the evening went to best independent retailer, as sponsored by The George Hotel of Stamford. Grasmere Farm Traditional Butchers in Stamford won the award. Highly commended were Murano Silver and The Wool Room.
Arbor Heat and Power won its second award of the evening in the business innovation category, sponsored by South Kesteven District Council. Nimble Media and KFE collected highly commended trophies.
Green achievement, sponsored by Larkfleet Group of Companies, was the next award and went to Sacrewell. Arbor Heat and Power, in a terrific night for their contingent of 18 staff, was highly commended in the category.
It was another win for Arbor Heat and Power when Ewa Marek took the award for employee/team of the year. Wildcats Academy and Safe Products were highly commended by judges from sponsor Bulley Davey.
Independent financial broker Charles and Dean picked up the award for customer care, sponsored by Chattertons. Animates and Newton Fallowell were highly commended.
A new award for this year was great taste, sponsored by Rutland Agricultural Society, and was judged by mystery diners visiting the shortlisted restaurants. The White Horse at Baston won, while Stamford’s The Mad Turk and The Wheatsheaf at Greetham were highly commended.
The final awards for the evening were small business of the year and established business of the year, both jointly sponsored by hosts Greetham Valley Hotel, Golf and Conference Centre; and Viking Signs.
Judges agreed it was a tough decision and in a particularly unusual move, shortlisted four applicants for each.
Charles and Dean were delighted to win their second award of the evening for small business. PSP IT, Safe Products and Harris McCormack Architects were highly commended.
Wildcats Academy, which won small business of the year in 2014, came back this year to win established business. Bluebird Care, KFE and Animates took home highly commended trophies.
The awards would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors: Bulley Davey, Chattertons Solicitors, Duncan and Toplis, Greetham Valley, Hegartys Solicitors, Larkfleet Group of Companies, Rutland Agricultural Society, South Kesteven District Council, The George Hotel of Stamford and Viking Signs. Our event supporters were Hawk Audio Visual and Beautiful Background Music by Nigel Truman.
Rutland and Stamford Mercury editor Mark Edwards said afterwards: “The Mercury Business Awards are always a great evening and this year was no different. Our judges found it particularly challenging to choose winners in many of the categories, proving that local businesses really are at the heart of our communities and that we should be proud of them.
“Congratulations go to all our winners and runners-up and of course, huge thanks to our sponsors and supporters, without whom we could not run these fantastic awards.”
For a full round-up and pictures from the evening, don’t forget to pick up a copy of next week’s Mercury, out on Friday, May 27.