Innovative firms celebrated at Fairford and Lechlade Business Awards

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: L-R: Sue Belcher of Bloomfield Fine Foods, Heidi Vrogden of Vincisive Wines, Hayley Schofield of Lechlade Crafts and Gifts Fair, Richard Martin and Tim Belcher of Bloomfield Fine Foods all at FLBC Business Awards at Hatherop Castle L-R: Sue Belcher of Bloomfield Fine Foods, Heidi Vrogden of Vincisive Wines, Hayley Schofield of Lechlade Crafts and Gifts Fair, Richard Martin and Tim Belcher of Bloomfield Fine Foods all at FLBC Business Awards at Hatherop Castle

SMALL, local businesses were celebrated at a lavish awards party organised by the Fairford and Lechlade Business Club at the beginning of February.

Traders from all over Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire attended the FLBC Business Awards at Hatherop Castle School to enjoy a three course dinner and a grand auction before a ceremony. Guests waited in anticipation to hear if their business had received an award for 2014.

This year outstanding business student of the year award was presented to Catherine Prothero of Lady P Enterprise. Part of the Young Enterprise Group at Farmor’s School in Fairford, judges believed that Catherine’s school project had grown into a significant business. Other finalists included Farmor’s 7A Brownie Group, Woodpecker and Snack Pot.

The most innovative business of the year award went to The Carp Society in Lechlade as the judges decided that turning the sport into a viable business was “extremely innovative”. Finalists were Media Eden Events Ltd and Lechlade Festival Ltd as well as Lechlade Craft and Gifts Fair.

New business of the year was awarded to Vincisive Wines in Lechlade. Judges said the company showed it is possible to turn a hobby into a business if you have the passion. Heidi Vrogden of Vincisive Wines said on behalf of her husband, the owner, Darren that he would be thrilled. "This really justifies his hobby to be a business. We weren't expecting this at all," she said.

The two finalists were Hector and Queen Ltd and Lechlade and Crafts Gift Fair.

Jennie Rainsford of Media Eden stole the prize for business person of the year for her commitment to numerous community and charity activities, such as the Lechlade Festival which draws thousands of outside visitors to Lechlade every year.

Bloomfield Fine Foods beat Agnito and Plan-A Planning and Development Ltd to the punch and was awarded business of the year at the ceremony. The company have two shops in Shrivenham and Highworth, near Lechlade and have stuck to its principles of locally and ethically sourced products for reasonable prices.

Owner of Bloomfield Fine Foods Sue Belcher said she was delighted to have won the award with her husband Tim. “It means so much to be recognised locally. It’s really all down to the whole team; we've done this together,” she said.

“You’re only a good business if you’ve got a good team.”

And the Howard Dowler Award, named after the later FLBC founder, went to Richard Martin of Cotswold Woollen Weavers in Filkins for being a keen supporter of the Cotswolds and donating his time, energy and business skills solely for the benefit of others in community.

Organiser of the evening Chris Roberts said all the businesses had truly deserved to win the awards presented on the night.

She said: "What makes the FLBC awards so special is it not only recognises good business practice locally but it recognises and applauds the young entrepreneurs of tomorrow."

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