The improbable impromptu scene, which raised more than £300 from guests at the Pavilion Theatre event on Friday evening, stole the show in a night packed full of success stories.
“It was a brilliant do and the best yet. I loved the dancing and singing. X Factor here I come,” enthused Meridian television presenter Fred of his star charity performance.
As ever, this year’s event proved tough to judge, with a wealth of business talent on display that highlighted the many firms across the Herald and Gazette area which are still thriving, despite recessionary pressures. Celebrations for the winners and highly commended went on well into the night for those gaining accolades in a total of 18 categories. These include Shoreham’s globally-focused engineering firm Ricardo, which claimed honours in the overall, innovation and large business of the year categories.
As Andrew Swayne, of the firm explained, it had been a fantastic year culminating in gaining government funding for a multi-million pound new high-technology vehicle emissions research facility.
He said: “Being named business of the year is great for the company and all those who have contributed to our achievements. It’s also great for employees that we’ve won these awards, which celebrate this success we have seen in the growth of our company, that has also helped the development of the area’s economy.
“We have gained fantastic support from Government with assistance from its growth fund, which was a personal highlight for me this year.”
David Sheppard, director at Ricardo, added: “It is a great achievement for us to be recognised in this manner. There’s an awful lot of talent to draw upon within the company and there have been a number of developments including on cleaner technology. We have 600 engineers on site who are right at the top of their game.”
Among the other delighted winners on the night was Zoe Clark, of Euphoric Beauty, who picked up best small business and the readers’ choice awards. Having started out nearly a decade ago, she praised the dedication of her team in expanding the Worthing-based beauty business. I am just quite amazed to have won. We’ve just celebrated our ninth birthday and we are going from strength to strength. I used to work for Virgin as an in-flight beauty therapist, but I realised I wanted to set up my own business. We’ve really grown since moving into a larger premises three years ago and I’ve got a great team of girls who I couldn’t have done this without.”
Roofing specialists, Kingsley Group, was also in celebratory mood after wining the manufacturing and construction award. With its million-pound work on the eagerly-awaited Splashpoint swimming pool progressing strongly, there’s been a good deal of optimism within the company. This comes despite the wider construction industry suffering a marked downturn.
Jeremy Taylor, of the company, said: “We are all really pleased to have won this evening – things have been going really well for us with projects including the Worthing swimming pool and other work such as roofing for Worthing Homes and the re-roofing of St Matthew’s Church. We’ve also done a lot of asbestos removal as well.”
Another big winner on the night was Jonathan Pressley of GH Pressley, who gained the business personality of the year award, as well as the best retailer award. Elated at his win, Mr Pressley said: “I’m delighted to have won the personality award and as the best retailer, which is really big for us. We’ve had a very good year, which has seen a lot of investment in the business with our store in Chichester as well now.
“We are doing unbelievably well in Worthing, with people coming to us from Brighton and London for our high-end products. We’ve also just been named the 23rd best jewellery retailer in the UK.”
Equally delighted to gain a highly commedended award, Jools Chaffer, of Dizzy support for Diabetes said 2012 had been a particulary strong year for the charity’s work.
He said: “I am completely overwhelmed about this as I didn’t know anything about it. There’s been so much happening with our work at the moment, which feels phenomenal.
We’ve experienced 40 per cent growth this year in helping hundreds of people with diabetes across the region. We now have our own in-house medically trained nurse which make a huge difference to us. We have had some incredible support and we’re now raising around £250,000 a year.”
There was cause for family celebration for brother and sister Trevor and Jenny Passmore, who picked up the honours in the hospitality and tourism award for running Coombes Farm near Lancing. Their 92-year-old mother Mary claimed the lifetime achievement award.
Jenny Passmore said: “It’s brilliant to have won this award- we’ve had a good season despite the weather being bad this year. The family has been where we are since 1901 and it’s very much a working farm.”
Trevor Passmore added that it was through diversifying into offering farm tours and being a wedding venue that had seen it rough a tough economy. He praised Mary Passmore as the “lynchpin” of their business, who is as keen as ever to play her part, even into her nineties.
Sonia Martin, 25, was setting a strong example for other young business people with her La Belle beauty boutique.
She said: “It’s really exciting to have won as I really wasn’t expecting to, but it does make all the hard work seem worthwhile. The business is growing and doing really well and hope that in winning this I can be an inspiration to other young businesses, that they can set up out there even in these hard times.”
On hand to pick up the best start-up business for Seagull Travel, which has enjoyed an eventful 2012, Darren Gallis said: “It’s a really good feeling to have gained some recognition at the awards.
“We’re now operating from 120 pick-up points across Sussex and Surrey, so it’s good to add to the success that Brighton’s Amex stadium is having.”
A memorable evening for all at the awards
Ecstatic at claiming the Adur and Worthing Business Award place to eat award, Donna Sparsis, of the Fish Factory restaurants, hailed the efforts of its team including husband Andy, as critical to its success.
She said: “It has been a fantastic year for us and we’d like to thank our customers for helping us win this award. Myself and my husband Andy have run this as a real family business.”
“During the last 10 years we have built up hundreds of thousands of regular customers who feel like The Fish Factory is coming home.
“A big thank-you to all our customers for using us for all these years.”
William Warren, of HD Tribe said the company was also “really glad to gain the recognition” in the medium business category, having been in the area since the 1920s.”
Picking up a highly commended award in the category after staff managed the “Gangnam style” with Fred Dinenage in aid of Children In Need, MD of JSPC, James Stoner was glad to see the company gain another accolade.
He said: “JSPC is delighted to have been highly commended in the category of Medium Business. It is great to have recognition of all the hard work over the years!
“This is the first time JSPC has been in this category which shows how much we have grown even over the last year! We are incredibly grateful to all of our loyal customers and staff for their support, without this, winning this award would not have been possible. “
This year’s outstanding Contribution to the Community Award went to the Rabbit Group waste management services.
Duncan Barrass, commercial manager, said: “We’re really pleased to have won as we’ve been proud to play our part in the community with our waste services and recycling.
“It’s been a tough year for the business, but we are glad to be recognised for the work we do which includes a lot of free waste collection for places including Sussex Cricket Club.”
Customer services are vital to any form of business, but it’s something that Shoreham Vehicle Auctions has excelled at this year.
Catherine Stone, of the company, said: “We’re so glad to have won in this category as the new management really turned the business around over the past three years, so customer service is at the heart of what we do.
“We’ve celebrated our 40th anniversary not long ago and the businesses is growing now- we definitely try to think outside of the box!”
Proving its eco-credentials have paid off, the Going Green category went to Henry House Hot Pool and Therapy Centre.
Director Karen Simporis said: “It’s fantastic to win this evening, which adds to the award we gained in 2009 which has done so much for our business.
“We have taken on a number of green initiatives including water recycling which we use to flush our toilets, the bike for bananas sustainable transport scheme in which we gave customers who cycled to us a Fairtrade banana, and photo voltaic solar panels on the roof over our pool so we can also generate our own electricity.”
Worthing Guest house, The Moorings, run by Colin and Sarah Huckwell took the runner up Highly Commended award place.
Sarah said: “It’s grea to get some acclaim for what you’re doing as we’ve worked really hard. We have been going for about six years now and have green schemes in place including photo voltaic solar panels, so it’s good to feel we are doing something right with tonight’s award!”
Meanwhile, Northbrook College, which has seen an extremely busy year with its new multi-million Broadwater campus facilities, emerged as winner within the training and education category.
Principal Sue Dare said: “To gain this award is really fantastic. This year has seen the completion of our facilities at Broadwater, we’ve done the 100 in 100 apprentice campaign and worked with a wide range of employers within the area.
“We have fantastic staff with 900 people working for us now, all of whom we consider under the banner of ‘Team Northbrook’ who have helped us win this award.”
- See Fred Dinenage and JSPC doing the Gangnam Style for Children in Need here... http://dl.dropbox.com/u/89156361/VIDEO0002-0.mp4
Winners + highly commended
Young Business Person
Sonia Martin - La Belle Beauty Boutique
Hospitality, Tourism & Leisure
Coombes Farm Tours & Passies Pond
Henry House Hot Pool & Therapy Centre
Sheryl Tipton Marketing
My Itchy Dog
Outstanding Contribution to the Community
Worthing Town Football Club
Education & Training
Shoreham Vehicle Auctions
Whyte Financial Ltd
Place to Eat
Coast Cafe des Artistes
Ricardo UK Ltd
Manufacturing & Construction
G H Pressleys & Sons Ltd
Whyte Weddings Limited
H D Tribe Ltd
JSPC Computer Services Ltd
Ricardo UK Ltd
Ricardo UK Ltd
Jonathan Pressley - G H Pressleys & Sons Ltd
Jools Chaffer - Dizzy: Support for Diabetes