More than 300 guests gathered at Chester Racecourse to celebrate the High Sheriff of Cheshire Enterprise Awards, 2017.
Macclesfield-based Direct Food Ingredients scooped the overall prize, the High Sheriff’s Award for Enterprise 2016/17, sponsored by Cheshire and Warrington LEP, LDF and O2.
The Mornflake Oats Award for Innovation was won by Tattenhall-based company, The Ice Cream Farm. The Fell family has been creating award-winning Cheshire Farm Ice Cream for nearly 30 years. The site has expanded dramatically with time and currently attracts more than half a million visitors a year. In addition the site has recently had a £4 million redevelopment.
Jonathan Fell, director of The Ice Cream Farm, said: “We go out of our way to ensure constant innovation with a dedication and commitment to excellence at The Ice Cream Farm. As such, being recognised with this award makes us extremely proud and eager to look for more ways that we can progress the business.”
Highly commended in the same category was Chester-based innovative restaurant The Chef’s Table.
The Cheshire Business Leaders Award for the Cheshire and Warrington Entrepreneur of the Year went to Steven Pendergast, from Bluestones Investment Group based in Ellesmere Port. He receives £500 prize money to invest in his business, plus free mentoring and business support to the value of £500 from Chester Business Leader members.
The Cheshire Business Leaders Award for the Outstanding Cheshire and Warrington Business Leader went to Philip McEvoy, operations director at Argent Oil, also based in Ellesmere Port. Mr McEvoy receives £500 prize money and membership of Cheshire Business Leaders.
In the new Apprenticeship Awards, sponsored by Barlows Electrical Ltd, Frodsham-based company Heat Trace were awarded Best Company.
Managing director Dan Berrisford said: “It’s fantastic to win such a prestigious award. It confirms that we’re doing the right things and is well deserved recognition for the hard work of the staff that run our apprenticeship scheme and especially for our apprentices who are very much the stars of the show.”
There were three recipients of the Best Apprentice Award, including two University of Chester chartered management degree apprenticeship students: Lucy Brown, who is an apprentice at West of England Textiles Ltd, which has an office based in Chester; and Emilia Hoyle, who is an apprentice at Heat Trace Ltd.
The Special Enterprising Project of the Year award went to Chester Zoo for its Islands at Chester Zoo project. Jamie Christon, chief operating officer at Chester Zoo, said: “We were delighted to be acknowledged at the High Sheriff’s awards for the Islands development at Chester Zoo. The £40m extension of the zoo has helped increase our visitor numbers to 1.9m in 2016, create an insight into the conservation work we do in South East Asia and provide a showcase habitat for the endangered species we look after.”
The evening was hosted by the High Sheriff of Cheshire, Kathy Cowell, and the vice-chancellor of the University of Chester, Professor Tim Wheeler. The guest speaker was New York Times best-selling author, consultant, educator, broadcaster, former NBA star, and elite psychologist, John Amaechi OBE.
The High Sheriff said: “It was a delight to host these business awards and to see the range of companies who entered – we had entries from a range of businesses who are geographically dispersed across the county and of varying sizes.
“Despite fundamental differences in these companies, there were some clear recurring themes throughout the companies, such as standards, quality, total focus on the customer and passion and it was lovely to celebrate these businesses.”
The High Sheriff also paid tribute to the generosity of the Cheshire Business community, who on the night raised £2,000 for Cheshire Crimebeat.