Hundreds attend climax of our prestigious Business Awards 2008

By Business Editor Jenni Moulson

HUNDREDS of prominent local business people gathered at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate for the third Ackrill Media Group Business Awards.

The annual awards dinner has grown in reputation since its launch in 2005 and draws attention from some of the newest as well as the most established companies.

It has become a celebration of economic success in the Harrogate region and a social event that brings together business people from a wide range of professions and industries.

The latest awards attracted a huge number of entries in each of the 13 categories, which included a new Green Award recognising the efforts made by businesses to reduce their impact on the environment.

The glittering gala dinner on March 6 was the culmination of months of preparation as entries were submitted, reviewed and carefully judged.

As the guests took their seats at the ceremony Ackrill Media Group Editor Jean Macquarrie thanked the sponsors, judges and all the businesses who had entered, made nominations and supported the event.

She introduced each of the category sponsors who presented the nominees and revealed the winners.

Peter McCormick OBE, who has always been a strong advocate of the business community of Harrogate, won the Lifetime Achievement Award.

He told guests he was proud to receive the accolade, particularly in view of the strength of the other candidates in the category.

He set up his own firm, McCormicks Solicitors, in Leeds in 1983 and opened an associated practice in Harrogate in 1987. He has since sold his Leeds office and consolidated his business to operate solely from Harrogate.

He has built up McCormicks Solicitors into a nationally renowned business and, in specific niche areas such as sport, media and entertainment law, internationally known.

Peter is a member of the Institute of Directors and plays an active role in the North Yorkshire branch. He is an avid supporter of the Harrogate International Festival and is well-known for flying the flag for the Harrogate region.

In sport he is a member of the Legal Working Party of the Premier League and advises the Football Association, Football League and Football Foundation.

He is chairman and patron of the Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards and advises several national charities, including the Duke of Edinburgh Award, the Outward Bound Trust, NCH and the War Memorials Trust. He was awarded the OBE in 2000 for services to charity.

Speaking after the event he said: “I feel honoured to receive this award which means all the more to me because it is an acknowledgement from the town and surrounding area in which I have grown up and developed our practice.

“Business, however, is about working in teams and no-one could have a better team than we have at McCormicks – they are all winners.”

Andrew Beadnall, of Beadnall Copley estate agents, who launched his own property business 17 years ago and is a prominent member of the local business community, was presented with the Business Personality of the Year Award.

Andrew’s career in the local property industry dates back many years but he set up in his own name in 1991. Since launching Beadnall Copley the company has grown substantially year on year thanks to his focus on being proactive and results-orientated to succeed.

His innovations have raised standards in the industry and include following up all viewings within 24 hours, giving comprehensive feedback to vendors and the development of an online monitoring system to enable clients to check progress of their sale, round the clock.

In addition to being a prominent business personality in the region Andrew spends much of his time and energy raising funds to fight cancer.

He is a committee member for the Cookridge Cancer Centre Appeal and has helped raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for the appeal fund.

He is also chairman of The Hunslet Cricket, Football and Athletic Club Trust which ensures sport thrives in the south Leeds area.

Speaking after the ceremony Mr Beadnall said: “I was absolutely delighted to receive the award and on the night, when I looked at the people I was shortlisted against, I was very flattered indeed to have won.

“When I started out in business under my own name 17 years ago I didn’t have a house to sell but when I think of the situation now and how the business has grown I owe much of that success to the people who work for me and the loyalty of the people of Harrogate, Wetherby and Ripon.

“In our game it’s all about good will and it comes down to reputation so I would like to thank everyone who has supported my business over the years.”

The other big award of the night, The Mayor’s Award, was presented to Paul Berwin of Berwins llp, for his company’s commitment to the local community and his own tireless fundraising.

Berwins believes in being an integral part of the community it serves with involvement in a range of community organisations with one partner on the board of Harrogate Theatre and another on the board of trustees of Saint Michael’s Hospice.

Team spirit is important and all the staff, in one way or another, become involved in Paul’s passion for running and fundraising.

He has raised over 30,000 for local charities over the last four years, mainly as a result of taking part in triathlons.

Turn to pages 2 and 3 for a full list of the winners, pictures of them receiving their awards and a picture special capturing the atmosphere of the evening.