Bristol businesses honoured at annual awards ceremony
The outstanding achievements of Bristol's best companies have been honoured at a glittering awards ceremony.
The third Bristol Evening Post Business Awards named Bristol corporate telephone answering business Office Response as the Business of the Year in front of more than 200 people at the Bristol City Centre Marriott hotel last night
The firm, which has a £3-million turnover, handles more than one million calls a year for companies across the UK.
It also won the best firm with a turnover under £5-million category.
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Iain McGregor, 42, director of Office Response said: "We are just stunned – we didn't expect to win one award, let alone two.
"It's our 10th anniversary this year, so what a present.
"It's simply down to the hard work of all the staff."
The ceremony also honoured Bristol architect George Ferguson with a Lifetime Achievement award.
His work to revive the Tobacco Factory in Southville and his innovative designs across Bristol stood out for judges, who praised his "can-do" spirit.
He even wore his trademark red trousers – along with his dinner jacket – to the awards.
George, 62, said: "This is simply mind-blowing – I'm delighted to be noted for my work so far, but I've got plenty more to do."
McKeown Business Moves of Southville, which specialises in removals, scooped two awards, winning both the Family Business and Green awards.
Director Andy McKeown, 45, said: "We're simply overwhelmed.
"We won the green award last year, but we didn't expect another one, but on the night we won two – amazing."
Construction group Leadbitter picked up the Community award.
From its Bradley Stoke base, it carries out a wide range of building products across the public sector.
Its housing team has worked closely with the community in Barton Hill while building 100 new homes for the Sovereign Consortium.
In the autumn, Leadbitter visited three of the Year 6 classes in Barton Hill Primary School to deliver SPLAAT – Safe Play at All Times.
Director Rob Bradley, 42, said: "We're interested in putting something back. We truly love helping out in the community.
"We do a lot of work with local schools, teaching them about what we do and this is testament to the hard work of all out staff."
Sarah Tiltman, of Clifton-based Flair4Recruitment, received the Entrepreneur of the Year award.
It specialises in permanent and temporary recruitment in the professional office, IT and executive sectors
Sarah, 28, said: "I'm delighted to have won. What a surprise."
The work of the Building Recruitment Company (BRC) in improving the skills of staff earned it the best training award.
This year, in response to the economic climate, BRC launched a new service called Jobsearch Support Service for newly unemployed professionals.
Participants will receive career counselling, tips on CV and writing cover letters, as well as job search techniques.
Managing director Paul Howe, 35, said: " We've got a staff who want to help people – that's the key.
"It's a challenging marketplace but everyone gives their all – that's why we won."
Judges felt the work of Portishead company OnePost earned it the best company with a turnover of more than £5m. Its targeting of the best postal delivery service for clients across the UK has seen it achieve a £28m turnover since 2005.
Managing director Graham Cooper, 55, said: " We have a truly professional staff and we really didn't expect to win – we'd like to thank everyone on the judging panel."
The Best Charity Award was given to the Vassall Centre Trust in Fishponds.
It is based in Fishponds where it is converting a former wartime hospital covering 43,000 square feet.
There, the trust creates workspace for people with disabilities, and of the 400 people who work there, a third of have a disability.
Eventually, when the building is fully occupied with 800 people, it will make the Vassall Centre Trust financially self-sufficient.
Chairwoman Sue McMullen, 74, said: "We were so happy to be one of the shortlisted candidates and we didn't dream of winning.
"We've always had tremendous support from the Evening Post and its readers – we are simply delighted."
The awards' judging panel was led by Dawna Stickler, managing director of the Evening Post.
She said: "It's been another great night for the awards – there's been true Bristol success stories and it was such a hard task to pick the winners from all the shortlisted entries.
"I want to thank each and every entrant for making the awards such a success."
The judging panel included Greg Rogers, of Bristol City Council, Richard Belt, centre director of Cabot Circus, Kerrie Hunt, of Thring Townsend Lee and Pembertons, David Roper and Mark Boughey, of Smith & Williamson, and Rebecca Binns of SWRDA.
● See Tuesday's Bristol Evening Post for a 24-page supplement featuring profiles of all the winners and runners-up and more pictures from last night's ceremony.
Last night's winners:
Family Business of the year: sponsored by AMC Communications
Winner: McKeown Business Moves
Community Award: sponsored by SWRDA
Winner: Leadbitter Construction
Entrepreneur of the Year: sponsored by Bristol City Council
Winner: Leah Burrows of Flair4 Recruitment
Best Training Scheme: sponsored by City of Bristol College
Green Award: sponsored by Bristol Water
Winner: McKeown Business Moves
Companies with a turnover of more than £5million:
sponsored by Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons
Companies with a turnover of less than £5 million:
sponsored by Business Link
Winner: Office Response
Charity of the Year: sponsored by SouthWestBusiness.co.uk
Winner: The Vassall Centre
Lifetime Achievement award: sponsored by thisisbristol.co.uk
Winner: George Ferguson
Business of the Year: sponsored by BDO Stoy Hayward
Winner: Office Response