BUSINESSES across Huddersfield blew away the gloom surrounding the economy in emphatic style to celebrate success last night.
There was plenty to cheer as the winners of the Examiner Business Awards were announced at a glittering black-tie dinner and presentation ceremony at the Galpharm Stadium.
More than 300 guests attended the event, which rewarded outstanding individuals and organisations in 12 award categories. They included ones for new businesses, small and medium-sized enterprises, exporters and employers.
Sectors represented by the winners and nominees included manufacturing, retailing, catering, business services, construction, education and the charity sector.
The most prestigious award of the night went to Huddersfield Town chairman Dean Hoyle, who was named Business Person of the Year for his success building up greetings card business Card Factory and his continued support for the town’s business community.
The award was presented to Mr Hoyle by Jeremy Garside, managing partner of law firm Chadwick Lawrence, which sponsored the category as well as the overall Examiner Business Awards.
Mr Hoyle, who left school with few qualifications, started by delivering cards from a van, but built up a highly successful high street chain of almost 500 shops. His astute management and vision enabled the company to compete with some of the biggest named in retailing.
After selling the business for a cool £350m, Mr Hoyle has turned his attention to sport as chairman of Huddersfield Town.
A lifelong fan of the club, he is bringing the same sense of ambition and purpose to his new role in the boardroom – while continuing to support a host of local business initiatives.
Presenting the award, Mr Garside said: "Our Business Person of the Year has been helping people get their message across for almost 20 years.
"In an age of emails, texts and tweets, his business found success through more traditional methods of communication.
"And he remains a keen advocate of communication – to get the message about business excellence across to young and aspiring entrepreneurs."
Mr Hoyle said: "I am stunned but honoured.
"I was in a position where I had luck, determination and a desire to do well and with all those three you can go a long way.
"This is a great week for Huddersfield Town as well, with news that Lee Clark is staying as manager and has won the manager of the month award.
"Now we turn our attention to tomorrow’s home game with Walsall and the chance to equal the record of 42 unbeaten league games.
"It is tough out there in business for everyone at the moment but we have so many people here with tremendous potential.
"It is a great night in a great week and a win-win situation for all."
The Paxman family from Huddersfield had a triple success with Paxman Coolers winning International Business Of The Year and its sister company Brewfitt based on the same site lifting the Innovation Award. Both are run by Glenn Paxman and his four children – Richard, Curtis, Claire and James – are involved in the companies. His nephew, Eric Paxman, owns Eric’s restaurant in Lindley which won the New Business Of The Year.
Fenay Bridge firm Paxman Coolers won the award for the worldwide success of its innovative scalp cooling system used to reduce hair loss for chemotherapy patients.
Other major category winners honoured at the evening included Netherton farm shop Hinchliffe’s, which was recognised for its Phoenix-like rise from the ashes of a devastating fire to claimed the prize of Kirklees Stadium Development Ltd SME of the Year.
Others included Elland-based Suma Wholefoods, which landed the Stafflex Community Award for its work with local schools, co-operatives and other community groups. Fenay Bridge firm Paxman Coolers won the HSBC International Business of the Year Award for the worldwide success of its innovative scalp cooling system used to reduce hair loss for chemotherapy patients.
Shepley firm Wellhouse Leisure had double cause to celebrate. The company, which designs and manufactures camper vans, was winner of the Kirklees Council Make it Huddersfield Award while managing director David Elliott was named Fantastic Media Young Business Person of the Year.
The Walker Singleton Business of the Year award went to Dual Seal Glass Ltd for its investment in new machinery which has helped it to boost jobs and land prestigious contracts UK-wide while Brewfitt Ltd, which makes drinks dispense equipment for pubs, clubs and restaurants, won the University of Huddersfield Innovation Award.
Musical instrument maker Hanson Music proved it was in tune with the environment, earning it The Stores Direct Green Award, while Huddersfield University’s impressive commitment to staff development made it a worthy winner of the PROHMS Ltd Employer of the Year Award.
Another winner was roadside rescue specialist Britannia Rescue, based at Folly Hall Mills, which took the David Brown Engineering Award. The award, for an awards nominee deserving special recognition, recognised its commitment to keeping operations in Huddersfield, its community involvement and its employee engagement policies.
Earlier, in welcoming guests to the event, Examiner editor Roy Wright said it was an occasion to celebrate "some of the best and brightest companies and individuals in our local business community".
He added: "Each of our winners has demonstrated the determination, initiative and skills necessary to succeed in a difficult and fiercely competitive business environment. They are fully deserving of these accolades."
Guest speaker at the awards was journalist and broadcaster Bill Turnbull, who is a familiar face on television as co-presenter of BBC1’s Breakfast news programme.
Commenting on the decision to move the breakfast show to Manchester, he told his Huddersfield audience: "We’re going to be neighbours.
He regaled the audience with anecdotes from his time on Strictly Come Dancing and revealed some of the verbal slips of his co-presenters.
Mr Turnbull drew comparisons between the attributes needed by TV presenters and people in business – to expect the unexpected, manage your expectations and never take things at face value.
The awards ceremony was hosted by BBC Look North’s Harry Gration, who is recovering from serious illness. But he paid tribute to the awards, saying: "I regard these awards as one of the highlights of my year. They get better and better each year."
The event included fundraising for the West Yorkshire Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.
Guests included Clr Christine Iredale, Deputy Mayor of Kirklees and her consort Robert Iredale, category sponsors and award judges, past winners of the Business Person of the Year Award and leading figures from the local business community.