The cream of Burnley business was feted in a lavish ceremony set in the jewel of Burnley’s crown, Towneley Hall.
The grand surroundings were a fitting venue for the 2017 Burnley Business Awards which celebrated, showcased and applauded the very best the borough has to offer.
On a night when there were so many winners, in front of so many faces – 600 to be exact – family firm Birchall Foodservice was crowned “Business of the Year”.
The food wholesaler moved to the new Burnley Bridge Business Park two years ago, a move which enabled it to grow and diversify.
Boasting a pedigree dating back to 1939, the business is a specialist in multi-temperature foodservice, offering next day delivery of grocery, chilled, fresh, frozen, dairy and non-foods to caterers around the nation.
Passion, ambition and pride was in huge supply when Burnley Council chief executive Pam Smith addressed the guests with a rousing speech.
She said: "It’s great to see so many businesses, dignitaries, and support agencies gathered here tonight to show their support for Burnley and its businesses.
“The ‘tent’ gets bigger every time as the demand for tickets increases. Which is wonderful – we’ll be hiring a circus big top next!
"We are bucking the national trends – we have ambition, strong business partnerships, and the results are there for all to see.
“Our ambition was to be recognised for growth and a good place to do business; to change how people think and feel about Burnley and to do things differently and get noticed for all the right reasons – and we are achieving all these thing – but we mustn’t rest on our laurels we have to keep being creative, doing things differently and creating new experiences, and we need to continue to work together to take Burnley forward."
A champagne reception had earlier greeted guests on arrival who came in their hundreds to the ceremony, perfectly organised by Burnley Borough Council and the Burnley Bondholders Scheme.
Indeed, it is that fusion of council and business working together that has boosted Burnley’s profile around the country and given it the platform to help businesses thrive.
Hosted by Simon Brierley, managing director of local radio station 2BR, the evening kicked off with a musical performance from Basics Junior Theatre School and culminated in local singer Gavin Young.
Magic and opera was sprinkled in between before the serious business of naming the winners commenced:
Small Business of the Year: Ian Mankin; Highly Commended, Seriun.
Small Business of the Year (20-49 employees): Pickup Systems.
Medium Business of te Year: Crow Wood Leisure.
International Business of the Year: Panaz.
Manufacturing Excellence: Coolkit Ltd.
Innovation Award: CheckedSafe.
Young Employee of the Year: James Wright; Highly Commended, Carrice Dickinson.
John Kennedy Apprenticeship Award: Paradigm Precision.
Digital Impact: FDM Digital Solutions.
Employer of the Year: VEKA.
Chief Executive’s Special Award: Primary Engineer.
Longstanding Contribution to Burnley: Fagan and Whalley.
Business of the Year: Birchall Foodservice.