Melton’s top business people and outstanding individuals in the community were celebrated at the annual Melton Times Achievement Awards on Friday evening.
The majestic Brooksby Hall was the venue for the event with guests enjoying a three-course meal after a Bucks Fizz drinks reception.
Loud applause greeted the winners of the coveted Business of the Year Category, Caffe Italia, which is based in Church Street in Melton.
The award was sponsored by accountancy firm Duncan and Toplis. who gave their congratulations to the winners and the shortlisted finalists, DVS Commercials Ltd and the Regal Cinema.
Siobhan Lane, of RS Bridal Collection, located in Market Place, Melton, was also celebrating with colleagues after being named Melton Times Business Person of the Year.
Also shortlisted in this category were Kim Ashcroft, of Beauty Box, and Rachel Roberts, of RR Accountancy Ltd.
There was strong competition for the award for Best New Business this year, with Apteekki, a restaurant for vegans and vegetarians in Burton Street, Melton, being chosen by our judges as the winner.
A certificate was presented by Mayor of Melton, Councillor Pru Chandler, on behalf of sponsors, Melton Borough Council.
Finalists in this category were Brentingby Gin, Cafe Allez!, Fair Farm Hideaway and Provident IT Solutions.
There was a special speaker at this year’s presentation evening, in the form of Elizabeth McKenna, who was fourth in the 2017 series of BBC business reality show, The Apprentice.
Elizabeth was back on familiar ground because she was a student on the Brooksby Melton College campus in late 1990s, when she learned the floristry skills to begin her own successful business, based on the outskirts of Nottingham.
In her humorous and engaging speech, she talked about applying for The Apprentice as a means of building a national profile for her business, as well as showcasing her abilities as a talented small businesswoman.
Elizabeth told guests: “I have size 10 feet and they are good for two things, getting stuck in my mouth and kicking butt.”
She added: “I am a maverick by nature and this is what came out (in The Apprentice), all be it in an edited version through the television.
“Perhaps it was because I was a country bumpkin that called a spade a spade and basically got stuck in, a few snippets of TV gold came out and I almost nearly won the whole thing.”
Elizabeth said small businesses, like those being honooured at the awards, have a big opportunity to do well in the uncertain economic times ahead as the UK prepares to leave the EU.
“By maintaining sight of why we run our businesses and who our clients and staff are, we have something many of the corporates don’t - ties to our community, because we are our community and we are responsible,” she said.
MC for the awards was broadcaster Melvyn Prior, who once again proved to be a thoroughly professional anchor as the various categories were announced.
Samworth Brothers sponsored the Best Place to Eat/Drink Awards.
Apteekki was named the best cafe, while the Anchor Inn, at Nether Broughton, was chosen as best restaurant.
Also shortlisted for these were Anne of Cleves, Cafe at the Samworth Centre, Caffe Italia and Miss B’s tea rooms.
The Melton Times Employee/Team of the Year award was scooped by Hallmark Consumer Services, with Beauty Box, Performing Stars Academy, Regal Cinema and Wet Paint Collective also making the final.
Staff at the Regal Cinema had plenty to cheer on the night, though, after winning the After Dark Award, sponsored by Melton Purple Flag.
Best Independant Retailer, sponsored by the Melton Times, was won by the Nottingham Street-based Melton Toymaster, with Beauty Box, Jonathan Flint Photography and Sugar Shamrocks also making the shortlist.
There was plenty of acclaim for this year’s Best Young Business Entrepreneur award (sponsored by Saint Gobain PAM) winner, who was Harvey Bolton, of Provident IT Solutions, of Melton.
Also making the final for this one were Doug Clements and William Tomlin, of DVS Commericals Ltd, and Siobhan Lane, of RS Bridal Collection.
And the Melton Bid-sponsored Customer Focus award went to the Sophie-Elise Beauty Boutique, with First Class Pole Fitness, Off The Beaten Path cafe, Specsavers of Melton and W Southerington & Son shortlisted.
The Leisure and Tourism Award, sponsored by Melton Leicestershire Promotions, was won this year by Gates Garden Centre, of Cold Overton, with Fair Farm Hideaway, Langholme B&B, Melton Carnegie Museum and Regal Cinema also on the shortlist.
Once again, there were some incredible acts of community achievement recognised on the evening.
One of them was Maddy Lygo, who was named Inspirational Young Person (sponsored by Abstract Audio UK Ltd). The 16-year-old, who lives in Thorpe Satchville and recently finished her GCSEs at Melton’s John Ferneley College, trekked 268 miles along the Pennine Way to raise money for sufferers of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. She raised thousands of pounds completing the gruelling distance from Edale, in Derbyshire, to Kirk Yetholm in Scotland.
Margaret Cramp was the winner of the Contribution to the Community award (sponsored by Melton Town Estate). The 70-year-old, who has had Parkinson’s disease for eight years, helped raise hundreds of pounds by taking part in a charity indoor row at Melton’s Waterfield Leisure Centre, which equated to travelling the length of the English Channel and back again.
Winner of this year’s best Community/Group Project of the Year (sponsored by the Melton Building Society) was The Junior Park Run, a 2km challenge for children and young people aged four to 14 at Melton Country Park.
We had joint-winners this year for the Hancock Residential Sales and Lettings-sponsored Young Child/Child of Courage award.
Judges gave it to both Jessica Edwards and Grace Moore.
Jessica (15), of Asfordby, was this year given the all-clear from cancer after helping raise thousands of pounds for the ward at Leicester Royal Infirmary where she was treated for almost three years.
Grace, who is 11, was nominated because of the courage she has shown during her two-year battle with Leukaemia. Happily, the Melton girl is now healthy again and recently celebrated the end of her chemotherapy treatment with a party with family and friends, arriving in style in a horse-drawn carriage.
Neither Jessica or Grace were able to attend the event so they will be presented with their awards at a later date.