Shropshire Chamber Business Awards in pictures

Hundreds of people gathered at Telford International Centre for the return of the Shropshire Chamber Business Awards.

Shropshire Company of the Year Aico
Shropshire Company of the Year Aico

The big winner on the night was Oswestry-based Aico which was crowned Shropshire Company of the Year. It also won the Sustainability and Young Business Person trophies at the event on Friday night.

Shropshire Company of the Year Aico

Speaking on the night, Neal Hooper, managing director of Aico, said: "I feel ecstatic. To win it once – a couple of years ago – was an absolute privilege, but what an honour to come back and win it a second time.

"We were nominated for six awards – a testimony to what everybody within the company does. We are lucky to have people who care, are passionate and do a great job.

"I would really like to thank the judges for the three awards this evening and for Shropshire Chamber for organising such a great event.

"We have to keep progressing and moving forward as a business."

Aico product development executive Samuel Marston, who won the Young Business Person award, added: “Many thanks to all those involved, especially all my Aico colleagues for supporting me, who have been a real credit. Well done to everyone else shortlisted in my category which had some really tough competition this year.”

The Young Business Person award went to Samuel Marston from Aico. Pictured with Samuel is Aico MD Neal Hooper

Other winners on the night included Shrewsbury-based manufacturing firm Beaver Bridges which took the Manufacturing award, and Bridgnorth car restoration specialist SNG Barratt which won for International Trade.

International Trade winner SNG Barratt
Manufacturing award winner Beaver Bridges

Shifnal-based Bright Star Boxing academy was crowned Best Small Business, and county travel agency Peakes Travel Elite was honoured for Outstanding Customer Service.

Best Small Business Bright Star Boxing

There were also awards for the county’s business broadcast channel Shropshire Business Live TV which was named Best New Business, Wellington-based PR company J&PR which won the Covid Response prize, Shrewsbury Colleges Group for Wellbeing in the Workplace, and Oaklands Farm Eggs of Ellerdine for Innovation.

Covid Response winner J&PR
Wellbeing in the Workplace winner Shrewsbury Colleges Group

The John Clayton Award, named after a former chamber president and recognising someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the local business community, was given this year to Shropshire Homes founder Howard Thorne.

And there was also a special surprise ‘This Is Your Life’ presentation for Shropshire Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive Richard Sheehan, to mark his 15 years of service with the team.

Chamber CEO Richard Sheehan with his Special Recognition award

Mr Sheehan said: "You can see the pent-up demand where people have wanted to come together for so long and this has been a platform to do that.

"The celebration of business success is so important because it has recognised the members of staff which have made those businesses what they are.

"Every business which was shortlisted is a winner in our eyes. We are not only excited by the future, but next year's event and the way the chamber is evolving and growing to support our business community."

On his award, Mr Sheehan added: "That came as an absolute stunner. All my family have kept it from me. It is amazing and something I will cherish forever."

This year’s finalists came from all corners of the county, including Telford, Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Ludlow, Bridgnorth, Whitchurch, Shifnal, Bishop’s Castle, Ellesmere, Ellerdine, Knockin and Albrighton.

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Frank Bruno was guest of honour, and spoke about his legendary tussles with Mike Tyson, and the foundation he has created to fight back against the stigma of mental illness.

Guest speaker Frank Bruno chats to Carl Jones

Chancellor Rishi Sunak recorded a special video message for the event, expressing his gratitude to the Shropshire business community for the way it has dealt with the challenges in the economy over the past few years.

He said: “I want to give a huge congratulations to all of you in the Shropshire business community for the way that you have dealt with all the challenges that have been thrown your way over the past couple of years.

“You have done absolutely brilliantly, and I am enormously grateful.

“A huge thank you to the Shropshire Chamber of Commerce for making these awards – the Oscars of the business community – such a success over the past couple of decades.

“It’s so important that we celebrate business success, and I’m absolutely delighted that that’s what you are doing tonight.”

The Lingen Davies table
Casino fun at the awards night
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