Ely Standard East Cambridgeshire Business Awards 2017: All the winners and finalists from a night of celebrating success at Ely Cathedral

29th September 2017

It was an evening of celebration as the Ely Standard East Cambridgeshire Business Awards marked its ninth year last night.

Ely Cathedral’s stunning Lady Chapel was packed to the rafters with 260 guests that included sponsors, guests and representatives and owners from a range of companies that had made it to the final.

As guests entered the beautifully-transformed venue, after posing for welcome photos and enjoying a drinks reception, Holly Jean, an acoustic singer-songwriter from Chatteris, provided the musical entertainment.

After welcome speeches from Ely Standard editor John Elworthy, Patrick Peal, the chief executive of East Anglian Air Ambulance, and Lucy Frazer, MP for South East Cambridgeshire, guests enjoyed a delicious three-course dinner.

Following the meal, BBC Radio presenter Sue Dougan took to the stage to begin the awards ceremony.

She said: “After the success of last year, we are pleased to see new and returning guests in the cathedral. This event would not be able to go ahead without you.

“These awards provide recognition for companies and individuals who are contributing to the business success, best practice and positive environmental impact in East Cambridgeshire.

“Tonight is about recognising and rewarding companies and individuals who are making significant contributions to East Cambridgshire’s business community and economic development.

“Our judges were extremely impressed with the quality of all the applicants and want to thank everyone who took the time to enter this year.”

Each award was marked by visiting judges, who represent the Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses as well as representatives from the sponsors.

The scores were based on a number of criteria “and our thanks go to them for their hard work”.

This year’s judges were: Joe Hemsley-Rudd, sales and marketing director at Ellgia Limited, Ian Poper, of Whiting & Partners, Rick Pridmore, managing director of RGP Security Services Ltd, Graham Buck, of the FSB, Ian Mallett, operations manager at JDR Manufacturing Operations, Alan Todd, chairman of the FSB Greater Cambridge branch, Ian Mitchell, finance director at Cambridge Commodities and Kieran Cross, partner of Fraser Dawbarns solicitors.

Lucy Frazer MP said: “It is a pleasure to attend the Ely Standard East Cambridgeshire Business Awards and meet so many dynamic, innovative and creative companies and entrepreneurs.

“East Cambridgeshire has much to be proud of – we are the front runner in terms of business and employment growth across the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership area with over 15 per cent growth since 2009.

“It is fantastic to hear about and see the diversity, vibrancy and success of the East Cambridgeshire business community.”

New Business of the Year

This category was open to any company of any size, including sole traders that have been set up since January 1 2016.

Winner: Lancaster Hammond Ltd

Finalists: Ely Tuk Tuks, Lemon Tree Deli Café

The judges said the winner’s work is specialised, niche and evergreen.

“The business saw excellent growth in a year, exceeding the targets set by founders,” said Mrs Dougan.

“Debbie and Julian have a combined experience of many years in the industry and the business looks set to be a regular fixture in the Ely business community in years to come.”

Julian Hammond, director of Lancaster Hammond Ltd, said: “We are absolutely over the moon to be recognised by our peers in the local community. Our business isn’t the most usual in this community so we are delighted with the award.”

Small Business of the Year

This award was recognition of the role that small businesses, which provide a large percentage of employment in the area, play in our economy.

Winner: Silver Oak Coffee

Finalists: D.G.Building (East Cambs) Ltd, Silver Bitch Pet Jets, Dynamic Creative, Inheritance Legal Services

The judges said Silver Oak Coffee is a great local business in a crowded market, but has positioned themselves well in a niche within the coffee market.

“They show a great passion alongside great knowledge for coffee and are big on working with the community. A real team business,” said Mrs Dougan.

Bruce Garside, managing director and roaster, said: “I’m thrilled. I never expected we would win at all; we were pleased to even be finalists.”

Medium Business of the Year

Winner: Thorlabs Ltd

Finalists: Isle of Ely Produce, ST1 Group, Ellutia Ltd

The judges said “this is a truly impressive photonics manufacturing business that Ely should be very proud of, it is a global operation which has grown rapidle and is still expanding”.

Keith Dhese, general manager, said: “We are over the moon, it’s going to our people. We believe in a team environment and allowing our people to bring it to the party.”

Customer Service Award

Customers nominated their local businesses as they felt they demonstrated fantastic customer service and went out of their way to help customers.

Winner: Atrium Fitness

Finalists: Milton Executive Cars Ltd, PA Answer, Inheritance Legal Services

The judges said the winner makes a great job of welcoming new members and supporting and encouraging current ones.

“Atrium are a model example of how to create and manage customer service to great effect,” said Mrs Dougan.

Jessica Crowe, operations manager, and Paula Brown, head receptionist, said: “We feel overwhelmed and really happy. Atrium is like one big family; the staff and our members.”

Retailer of the Year

This category focused on sales performance and how the relationship between the business and the consumer is developed.

Winner: Lemon Tree Deli Café

Finalists: Interiors of Ely, Inheritance Legal Services

The judges said the winner has an excellent position in the market square and described it as a breath of fresh air from big brand coffee chains.

Adrian Kidd, owner, said: “I’m over the moon, it’s brilliant. I’d like to thank everyone that has been involved; our customers especially, because without them we wouldn’t be where we are. And my wonderful wife, Debbie, for making all the cakes.”

Business in the Community

This award was designed to recognise contribution to local communities.

Winner: Milton Executive Cars Ltd

Finalists: Witchford Lighting, Ely Farmhouse Furniture, Corkers Crisps

The judges said the winner showed an excellent example of local community activities, outstanding staff voluntary involvement across a variety of charities. They were inspired by the team and how committed they are.

The Innovation Award

This award was open to any business that has shown how they have introduced new ideas, techniques or technology, or how creative ideas are being turned into business success stories.

Winner: Ellutia Ltd

Finalists: Ely Tuk Tuks, Forces Recruitment, Silver Birch Pet Jets

The judges said “Ellutia Ltd are ana eceelent example of innovation which has an impact on a global scale, and are leaders in this technology”.

Avril House, sales director, said: “We’ve never own an award before so this is brilliant. I’m really very happy.”

Employer of the Year

This category was open to businesses that demonstrate strong commitment to staff and asses how employees benefit the business.

Winner: Thorlabs Ltd

Finalists: Enhance Dental and Facial Rejuvination, PA Answer, Life Fitness

The judges were impressed by Thorlabs’ exceptional level of care and attention they give to their employees.

Judges Award

This award was to recognise an individual or company that has not won a category but that the judges felt needed special recognition.

Winner: Silver Birch Pet Jets

The award was announced by Jo Evans, chairman of the Ely Chamber of Commerce, who said: “Silver Birch specialised in a very niche market, flying pets all around the world, undertaking research and has shown a very can-do attitude to its clients.

“It has quickly established itself as an expert in its field – a very sustainable and growing business.”

Dean Faulkner, owner, said: “We’ve worked incredibly hard over the last five years so it’s great to get recognition for our small team of people. I’m very proud.”

Business of the Year

This award was given to a company the judges feel has demonstrated great business practice as well as financial success.

Winner: Thorlabs Ltd

The judges said the winner is “a truly impressive, global manufacturing business. It has already achieved phenomenal growth and success, but clearly does not rest on it’s laurels, as it is constantly evolving further in all areas of the business.”

Lucy Frazer MP said: “I was delighted to see Thorlabs Ltd awarded East Cambridgeshire Business of the Year.

“On a recent visit to Thorlabs Ltd, I heard first-hand how the business plans to double its existing floor space and increase its headcount to over 500 staff in the longer-term, which is a welcome vote of confidence in the future of our area.”

The evening concluded with a prize draw that raised nearly £1,100 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

Visit http://www.elybusinessawards.co.uk/ for more on the awards.