Prize night for successful businesses

It was a night to remember for the hundreds of people who attended the county's biggest annual celebration of business.

The occasion was the Northamptonshire Business Excellence Awards 2007, organised by Northamptonshire Newspapers in association with Northamptonshire Chamber.

Simon Kennedy, general manager of Northamptonshire Newspapers, welcomed everybody to the event at Hanger One, Sywell Aerodrome, and thanked the sponsors and all those involved in making the evening happen.

Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Northamptonshire Chamber, co-organisers of the event said: "The standard of entries this year was excellent and this is a fantastic advert for all businesses in the county and is a good advert to attract other businesses to Northamptonshire."

Following the meal after dinner speaker, television presenter Eamonn Holmes, took to the stage and said he was pleased to be invited to honour the successful businesses in Northamptonshire today.

The Sky news anchorman then captivated his audience with insights of his career in broadcasting from his first job on Ulster TV to presenting National Lottery programme Jet Set and his times at GMTV.

He said: "I joined GMTV in 1993 and David Blaine still doesn't know I drugged his tea.

"I also interviewed Monica Lewinsky, her first live TV interview after the Clinton shenanigans.

"I had met Clinton previously and when Monika asked if I knew him I said yes, but I only shook his hand."

Mr Holmes then started the presentation of the awards and the room was filled with a mix of cheers and tears as the winners and runners-up were announced.

There were 12 categories which businesses could enter and taking the top accolade of Business of the Year 2007, was Bambino Mio, whose representatives had already taken to the stage moments earlier to collect the International Trader of the Year Award 2007.

Managing director Guy Schanschieff said: "It is great to be recognised and it is good for the team.

"This is our 10th year and it has been a tough 10 years to get where we are but it has been because we have worked hard and have always been focussed on what we do."

A charity auction and raffle held in aid of Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance raised 3,460 for the charity, which relies entirely on donations to keep the service operational.

Director Andy Williamson said: "That will keep us flying for one day, it may not sound much, but it will save at least one life that day."

As the VIP disco took the event through to its close in the early hours of this morning, Mr Kennedy said: "I was really impressed with the quality of the entrants this year.

"This is the 17th year of the awards and was the best yet and I would encourage more companies to get involved next year and help the event to grow even more."

Winners

Business of the Year Award 2007 – sponsored by Smith Stuart and Reynolds

Bambino Mio

New Business of the Year Award 2007 – sponsored by North Northants Development Company

Dodmoor House

Training and Development Award 2007 – sponsored by The Academy

Holiday Inn Corby/Kettering A43

Growing Business of the Year Award 2007 – sponsored by Royal Mail

Cocoon Collection

Innovation Award 2007 – sponsored by BusinessLink

Northamptonshire Probation Service

Business Person of the Year Award 2007 – sponsored by Bartercard

Mark Bradley, Dodmoor House

Team of the Year Award 2007 – sponsored by Stanair

Starting Off

Environmental Award 2007 – sponsored by QMP

River Nene Regional Park

Entrepreneurial Business of the Year Award 2007 – sponsored by NRS Recruitment

Intamac Systems

Website of the Year Online Marketing Award 2007 – sponsored by bmt Sales and Marketing

Absolute Authentic

International Trader of the Year Award 2007 – sponsored by Northamptonshire Chamber

Bambino Mio

Customer Service Award 2007 – sponsored by Hayley Conference Centres

Tollers

THE RUNNERS-UP

Business of the Year – Knights of Old

New Business of the Year – Adding 2 It

Training and Development – ACS Office Solutions

Growing Business of the Year – Knights of Old

Innovation Award – Mate Tooling

Business Person of the Year – Dean Caton, Arrive in Style

Team of the Year – Rockingham

Environmental Award – Novacroft

Entrepreneurial Business of the Year – Absolute Authentic

Website of the Year – The Olive Queen

International Trader of the Year – Satra Technology

Customer Service – Cocoon Collection