THE CREAM of Keighley and Airedale’s business community has been recognised in a sixth annual awards scheme. A glittering presentation ceremony was staged at Keighley’s Victoria Hall on Friday. The sell-out event, attended by over 250 people, was compered by BBC TV presenter Harry Gration. Guests included Lord Mayor of Bradford Councillor Zafar Ali and the Lady Mayoress, Bradford Council leader Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, MP John Grogan and town mayor Cllr Fulzar Ahmed. The Keighley and Airedale Business Awards this year attracted a record number of entries.
Accolades were handed out in ten categories and the coveted Overall Business of the Year title was awarded.
Steve Seymour – for headline sponsor Keighley Business Club, supported by Keighley BID – said the awards had been another massive success.
He told the gathering: “There are no losers.
“All involved – sponsors, entrants, organisers, the food and drink staff and the audio visual staff – have showcased business tonight.
“We would like you to shout from the rooftops about what you have seen.”
The Overall Business of the Year award went to Iconx Ltd, winner of the Small/Medium-Sized Business of the Year category.
The Silsden-based company manufactures semi and fully-automated key-cutting machines.
The machines are situated in over 1,000 supermarkets and retail outlets nationwide and the firm is planning to expand to New Zealand, France, Portugal and Germany.
Details of all award winners are:
* Milner Apprentice Award
Best Academic Achievement Award, Nathan Buckle; Best Vocational Skills Development Award, Sam Saunders; Outstanding Apprentice Award, Jasmine Hibbert. Special Achievement Award – James Clapham, William Henry and Jack Shaw.
Prizes were provided by the Keighley Training Consortium.
Jasmine, from Produmax, said: “My apprenticeship has shown me so many more practical skills – using milling machines, lathes etc.
“I’m going to use my £1,000 prize on something to help me progress. I’m ambitious and want to continue with college and onto a degree.”
* Apprentice/Trainee of the Year
Award sponsor: Keighley College
Winner: Deana Wood, of Specsavers, Keighley
Deana pplied to be an optical apprentice at Specsavers in 2015. The apprenticeship allowed her access to a career ladder to a plethora of different job roles, and she has gone from strength to strength. “She is amazing with the customers, always going the extra mile, and her smile makes her the face of our business,” says Specsavers.
Special recognition: Lauren Facey, of John W Laycock, and Ellie Mitchell, of Mortgage Advice
* Independent Trader of the Year
Award sponsor: Airedale Enterprise Services
Winner: Janus Interiors
The Bingley-based business guides people through each stage of their journey when buying a new kitchen, bedroom or bathroom. The firm has plans over the next three months to further develop the bathroom showroom and its website. The company said: “We are a bit surprised to win. We didn’t expect it, but it’s amazing.”
Special recognition: The Bingley Gallery
* New Business of the Year
Award sponsor: Cavendish Business Centre
Winner: Bracken Hall House B&B
Bracken Hall House, once a countryside education centre, was bought from Bradford Council in 2014.
Following a refurbishment by its owners, it is now a B&B which since opening last year has received rave reviews.
“We are really honoured to win this,” said the owners.
“We’re already getting return visits from guests within our first year and local businesses are using us midweek.”
Special recognition: Grind and Groove
* Manufacturing Business of the Year
Award sponsor: Rotherwood
Based in Keighley and founded by chartered engineer James Bailey in 2015, Wheatlands Aire Valley Engineering Ltd – or WAVE – provides independent design and project support services, operating throughout the UK and beyond.
The team comprises technical and project specialists with experience in both retail and industrial refrigeration applications, and an extensive background in building services covering mechanical, control systems and energy management.
“It’s very humbling to win.” said the firm. “Keighley has a rich engineering heritage.”
Special recognition: Specialised Covers
* Financial/Legal Services Business of the Year
Award sponsor: AWB Charlesworth
Winner: Waddington Turner & Wall
Waddington Turner & Wall Solicitors moved into its new office in Devonshire Street, Keighley, in December.
The company serves a wide client base across the Aire Valley as well as an increasing number from further afield, and now employs 14 people.
The practice is the result of a merger in 2014, between Turner and Wall Solicitors and Waddington’s Solicitors.
“It’s always helpful to have staff in the area that know people in what can be quite a difficult market,” said a spokesman.”
Special recognition: Corporate and Commercial Credit Solutions Ltd
* Food and Drink Business of the Year
Award sponsor: Cosurica
Winner: Pickles Pubs
Pickles Pubs is a pub management company based in the Aire Valley, with a portfolio of food and drink sites all within a five-mile radius of Keighley.
The company comprises four pubs and Keighley Golf Club’s bar and catering function.
Pickles Pubs – run by Neil Pickles – employs between 75 and 125 people, fluctuating with seasonal trade.
“It’s absolutely fantastic to win,” he said.
Special recognition: Curry House
* Micro Business of the Year
Award sponsor: Snugpak
Winner: Crimson Bear Ltd
Crimson Bear Ltd was formed by two men with over 45 years of plumbing – and in particular radiator industry – knowledge between them, Paul Johnson and Andrew Smith.
They began the business working from a dining room table for 18 months, whilst securing Screwfix and B&Q as customers.
The duo now rents space from Joda Freight at Cross Hills and has a portable cabin next door for the office.
“We are really, really proud to win this award,” they said. “It means more than you can imagine.”
Special recognition: The Stitch Society
* Small/Medium-sized Business of the Year
Award sponsor: The Alternative Board
Winner (and Overall Business of the Year): Iconx
Iconx is fully responsible for all the servicing, maintenance, cashing and restocking of each of its key-cutting machines across all stores
The team consists of engineers, product and business development specialists, technical managers and customer services staff.
Iconx has recently launched campaigns with Homebase stores nationwide and will soon be rolling out an initiative for new B&Q sites.
Special recognition: Specsavers Keighley
* Media Business Of the Year
Award sponsor: Blacks Solicitors
Winner: Distant Future Animation Studio
Run by an award-winning team of specialists, the Keighley-based studio was founded by Bill Beaumont and Steve Searle in 2011. Bill is now sole director.
The team comprises specialists based across various locations.
“We help companies visualise things that don’t yet exist,” said Bill.
“We have been looking for a category to enter in these awards and we are delighted to be the first winner of the Media Business of the Year Award in its first year.”
Special recognition: Clockwork Eye Video Productions
* Business Personality of the Year
Award sponsor: Keighley Town Council
Winner: Mohammed Zamir Hanif (Balti House)
Mohammed was chosen for the award for his “continuous hard work and effort within the local community”.
Over the years he has been involved in – and donated money to – many local charities.
He has also set-up his own charity, the Ibrahim Trust, which helps the poor and needy in Pakistan.
And he launched the Balti Catering Experience, which offers apprenticeships for young people wanting to enter the food industry..
“This is a massive award in terms of recognition and I am shocked,” he said.
Special recognition: Robin McAndrew (Shield Services)
* Special Award for Outstanding Contribution
Winner: Keighley & Worth Valley Railway
The railway, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, has been a regular backdrop for cinematic and TV productions over the years – from The Railway Children to Poirot and Peaky Blinders. It contributed to Bradford becoming the first UNESCO City of Film.
It continues to bring thousands of visitors into the area, as well serving local people.
“This award celebrates not only preserving this section of railway for 50 years, but also fixing in the national mind the quality that makes this place memorable, unique and attractive,” said an awards spokesman.
“Thank you, Keighley & Worth Valley Railway – and your many, many volunteers – for your enduring contribution to our economy and national heritage.”