Nervous wait begins as judges meet to choose Harrogate Business Awards finalists

The judges of the Harrogate Business Excellence Awards met this morning to begin the task of whittling the piles of nominations down to a handful of finalists.

By John Grainger
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 6:33 pm
Finalists of the Harrogate Advertiser Business Excellence Awards will attend a gala awards evening held at the Pavilions of Harrogate on Thursday, June 30. PHOTO: Gerard Binks.

The panel was led by head judge Simon Eyles, who is managing director of Bettys and a member of Bettys & Taylors Group’s Collaborative CEO, and also included Stephen Hankinson, managing director of headline sponsor Ignition Group, and Matthew Chapman, manager of Harrogate Business Improvement District (BID).

They sifted through dozens of entries in 14 categories, from all parts of this newspaper series’ circulation areas. The awards aim to identify and recognise the best businesses based across the Harrogate District, Wetherby, Tadcaster, and surrounding areas.

The judging comes two months after the launch of the awards, and Mr Eyles said he was looking forward to taking part in the process.

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“These awards encourage recognition of the exceptional standards in all business sectors around the region, so it’s genuinely exciting for me to be involved, and to represent our iconic family business,” he said.

“We have so much to be proud of in Yorkshire in terms of skill, innovation and creativity and it’s a pleasure to honour the hard work and imagination that brings us to the world stage.”

A shortlist for each category will be revealed in a special edition of this newspaper on Thursday, May 19.

Mr Chapman said: “I’m really excited to be involved in 2022 judging and part of my acceptance was the collaborative feel that these types of events create. Working together on a collective aim really does work!

“In the most recent publication of this very paper I talked about ‘people making places’, and that is exactly what I’ll be looking for in the 2022 entries. People and businesses that have been engaging, committed, going above and beyond whilst being full of positive energy and ideas.

“Hopefully I’ll get to meet many of you at the awards ceremony and we can all celebrate the successes of these brilliant businesses and the Harrogate Business Excellence Awards returning in style.”

The winners will be announced at a glittering gala awards ceremony hosted by Yorkshire broadcasting legend Harry Gration MBE, best known for fronting BBC regional news programme Look North. 
The black-tie event, to be held at Pavilions of Harrogate on June 30, will include a meal, music and drinks reception sponsored by Slingsby Gin.

Mr Eyles added: “It will be a real treat to be able to get together to celebrate our successes, and to reconnect with people at the awards ceremony. While we’ve all learned to adapt to different ways of working together in the past few years, there’s nothing quite like reconnecting in real life, and I’ve no doubt that this event will create a renewed energy in us all.”

To book tickets for the Harrogate Advertiser Business Excellence awards ceremony on June 30, go to

The awards are sponsored by Knaresborough-based electric heating specialist Ignition Group, and each category has its own sponsor, including Berwins Solicitors, Destination Harrogate, HRH Group, Impression Recruitment, Ison Harrison Solicitors, LCF Law, Nicholls Tyreman, Rudding Park and VQ Solutions.

There are still category sponsorship opportunities available – contact [email protected] for details.