Winners of Business Awards crowned at lavish ceremony

A number of the prize winners. Picture: Anderson Entertainment
A number of the prize winners. Picture: Anderson Entertainment

Hundreds turned out in their finest evening wear for this year's Observer and Gazette Business Awards, in Arundel.

The awards - which celebrated the achievement of businesses in the Chichester and Arun districts - were presented during a ceremony held at the Hilton Avisford Park hotel, in Arundel, on Friday evening (April 20).

The big award of the night - overall business of the year - went to Woods Travel Limited, a bus and coach company based in Bognor.

Woods Travel Limited also made it a double by securing the Medium Business (ten to 50 employees) award.

Joint managing director of Woods Travel Limited Tina Shaw-Morton said: "It is great. I think what it does is it reassures our customers that they made the right decision to be our customers.

"We are customer reliant and we have a lot of repeat customers who we are very thankful of."

Vinco Marketing - a creative design and marketing consultancy - was crowned the Small Business (up to ten employees) of the year award with Moore Stephens (South) LLP - a chartered accountant and business adviser with officers in Chichester - named winners of the Large Business (50 plus employees) of the year award.

Victoria Hilditch, the managing director of Vinco Marketing, said: "It feels like all the hard work was worth it. I work 14 hour days so it was just a massive honour to even be shortlisted."

Louise Hastings and Andrea Wulff, who are both partners at Moore Stephens (South) LLP, said it was great to be recognised.

Louise added: "We have a lot of students from the college doing training with us. In all, we have 95 members of staff in five officers with about 25 in Chichester. It is incredible to win this award."

The first award of the night - Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure - went to Love Where You Live, a web resource for people focusing on the leisure and well-being in Chichester.

Vicki Meddows-Smith, the founder of Love Where You Live said she was 'shocked' to win the award. She added: "It is absolutely fantastic to just get the recognition. It just goes to show that even with the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn, there is still scope for a local force.

"I just want it to become a bigger resource and I would encourage everyone to get involved."

This was followed by Chandler and Hall, a hairdressing salon in Emsworth, picking up the Start-up business award.

The business was set up 18 months ago by Sian Chandler and Sam Hall. After they were presented the award, they said it meant 'everything'.

Sam added: "It is absolutely overwhelming that we have come this far. I did not think we would win.

"I am absolutely ecstatic to have won this award with my best friend."

Brad Ainsworth from Cathedral Wealth Management - a financial planner in Chichester - picked up The Outstanding Contribution to the Community award for his work over the past 12 months.

After collecting his award, Brad said: "It just means the world as when you are climbing mountains and experiencing minus temperatures you want something to prove it was all worth it."

Brad's father Bob said he was 'immensely proud' of his son.

Bennett and Game Recruitment Ltd - a technical recruitment agency in Chichester - was crowned employer of the year while Kiwi Recruitment Ltd was presented with the Employee/Team of the Year award.

Brendan Cook, the managing director at Kiwi Recruitment thanked his team after collecting the company's award.

He said: "Without these guys, we couldn't do what we do. We are a team of seven but they all do a fantastic job and deserve much higher praise than I do.

"It is just incredible. This team is out of this world."

Another award winner on the night was SI Protech - a plastic injection-moulding service, based in Wick - which picked up the Innovation prize. Access by Design - a specialist in web design - was highly commended.

Neil Cranfield, the finance director at SI Protech UK Ltd said 'this is just the start' for a company which is preparing to release a new product which self-refrigerates canned drinks.

Clive Loseby, from Access Design, vowed to return next year but said he was 'immensely proud' to be highly commended.

Pinks Vintage Ice Cream Vans and Tricycles - based in Bognor - scooped the Customer Service award before Courteney Walters - from Regis Removals, a moving and storage service in Bognor - walked away with the Young Achiever award.

Georgia Alston, who runs the Pinks Vintage Ice Cream Vans and Tricycles with her mother Katie, was forced to miss her brother's birthday party for the night's celebrations.

She said: "I haven't even spoken to my mum yet but she is going to be absolutely speechless.

"It is mine and my mum's business but we are a very close family. Family comes above our business at all times."

Young achiever Courteney Walters, from Regis Removals, built herself up from trainee to finance manager in the space of 18 months.

After receiving her award, she said: "It is amazing. It is a really big award to win and I was so nervous collecting it off the stage. I had no idea I was going to win tonight."

Retailer of the year went to The Bazaar - a gift shop in Chichester - while South Coast Composites - a manufacturer based in Bognor - picked up the Training and Development award.

Kieran Buckwell, who works for South Coast Composites, said: "It is nice to be recognised for the work we do for the local community."

Diana Levantine from Sussex Snowdrop Trust - a charity which provides care to children with life-threatening illnesses in the area - was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award.

Diana, who was unaware she had even been shortlisted, said she was 'totally shocked' by the award.

She added: "We have five paediatric nurses, two support workers and the most incredible counsellor who do the most amazing jobs.

"I have ran this charity for 25 years and it has been so worth it."

WL West and Sons, a lumber store and timber merchant in Petworth, was named the winner of the Manufacturing and Construction award.

The Place to Eat and/or Drink was awarded to the traditional Crown and Anchor pub located in Chichester.

Laura Read, the deputy manager, and Chris Saunders, assistant manager, collected the award on behalf of the pub's general manager Oliver Thomas who was on holiday.

Laura said: "I think we are overwhelmed. It is a busy time for the pub as the summer comes around so this is a great award to win.

"It is a lovely place to work."

Other award winners included Tristan Eves who picked up the Business Personality award and the Great Ballard School - an independent school in Eartham, near Chichester, for children between the age of two and 13 - which secured the Green Business of the year award.

Tristan Eves, who originally comes from the east end of London, said: "I come from an area where hair is very important and you need to look good every single day.

"We are a team of ten extremely professional hairdressers who love doing what we do. It is a massive shock but I am so proud."

Tracey Carr, who is in charge of finance at the Great Ballard School, said: "We need to educate the next generation about the importance of the planet and being green.

"We run a number of programmes with the children and they are extremely enthusiastic about learning."

The final award of the evening - Readers' Choice - went to Sophisticated Hair, a salon based in Midhurst.

Sophia Stanton, the salon manager, said: "We started as a tiny business a little over a year ago and we hope to continue to grow for all women to come to get their hair done in the Midhurst community.

"This is the very first award we have even been shortlisted for and we have gone and won it. Amazing."

For full coverage of the event, including pictures of the winners, pick up a copy of this week’s paper.

FULL LIST OF WINNERS AND HIGHLY COMMENDED:

Hospitality Tourism and Leisure: Love Where You Live

Start-up: Chandler and Hall

Small Business (up to ten employees): Vinco Marketing

Medium Business (ten to 50 employees): Woods Travel Limited

Large Business (50 plus employees) In Association: Moore Stephens (South) LLP

Outstanding Contribution to the Community: Brad Ainsworth (Cathedral Wealth Management)

Innovation: SI Protech. Access by Design (highly commended)

Training and Development: South Coast Composites

Retailer: The Bazaar

Employer of the Year: Bennett & Game Recruitment Ltd

Employee/Team of the Year: Kiwi Recruitment Ltd

Business Personality: Tristan Eves

Manufacturing and Construction: WL West and Sons

Customer Service: Pinks Vintage Ice Cream Vans and Tricycles

Young Achiever: Courteney Walters (Regis Removals)

Place to Eat and/or Drink: Crown and Anchor

Green Business: Great Ballard School

Lifetime Achievement: Diane Levantine – Sussex Snowdrop Trust

Readers' Choice: Sophisticated Hair

Overall Business of The Year: Woods Travel Limited