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The excitement in the air was palpable as hopeful nominees and enthusiastic supporters streamed into the first ever Redhill Business Awards. And our own Chairman, Ian Matthews – whose own company Kingston Smith featured strongly at the event – was there to soak up the atmosphere and engage with local business owners, employees and entrepreneurs.

The event was held at Reigate Manor hotel who did a great job of hosting and entertaining, ensuring the ticket price was value for money indeed.

As a Guild, our own special thanks go to Reigate and Banstead Council who planned and sponsored this event. What a great initiative for local businesses! The council has taken a strong lead in promoting local business, not least by being involved in our own establishment as a Guild. We are genuinely grateful to Diane Dunkley and Simon Bland in particular for their support for the Guild and their contribution to local business. Well done from all of us!

But to the awards, which like the nominees, you’ll be anxious to hear about. There were eight categories and we can start with the two awards sponsored by the council, Employee of the Year Award which was won by the industrious Zac Tullet who works at Shippo on the Holmethorpe Industrial Estate. The winner of their Business Support Grant Award was Shuttle; although only operational for four years, their AML and KYC software has already achieved a success that clearly impressed the judges. In other areas, real ale lovers will be pleased to hear two awards were won by local breweries: Pilgrim Brewery who won Small Business of the Year (sponsored by East Surrey College) and Crumbs Brewing, Start-Up Business of the Year (sponsored by Belfry Shopping Centre).

Social Value Business of the Year, an award sponsored by Gatwick Airport, was won by the Belfry Centre; our own Andy Nash clearly delighted with that result. And Connick Tree Care, who have been providing quality Arboricultural services in the area sine 1985, won the Customer Service Award, which was sponsored by Morrisons Solicitors

The two final winners were Earlswood Homes: founded in 2006 they quickly established themselves through the quality workmanship and strong customer support and deservedly won Large Business of the Year (sponsored by Kingston Smith, the local mid-tier accountancy firm). And Kingston Smith featured again as winners of the Employer of the Year Award which was sponsored by the Surrey Chamber of Commerce.

All of which neatly brings us back to our Chair, Ian Matthews. Commenting on his own experience at the awards, Ian said, “It was an amazing event, testament to all of the great businesses in the Borough and a taster of why Redhill and the wider area is such a great place to do business”