The Fairford & Lechlade Business Club Business Awards were held at the end of January at Sudbury House Hotel in Faringdon. Once again, there were a record number of entries as the event becomes more and more popular with businesses from all over the Cotswolds, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire.

More than 100 business people attended the Awards night hosted by the Mayor of Lechlade, Gary Holland.

The judges were extremely impressed by the number and quality of the entries, which showed passion and enthusiasm. The great range of businesses taking part made the judging process even more difficult in selecting both finalists and eventual winners.

Outstanding Business Student of the Year

Sponsored by: The RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises (Air Tattoo)
Presented by: Helen Webb

Amelia Snell – Elixir  

William Stamp – Upskill Gaming
Anand Patel – Better Learn

The entries for this award were from Y12 Business Students from Farmor’s School and each of the three students had written a business case for a new business. The runners up were William Stamp with his business Upskill Gaming and Anand Patel with his Better Learn idea.

The winning entry was from Amelia Snell and her business Elixir. The judges were impressed by the quality of all ideas and entries this year. However, they particularly liked Amelia’s business idea Elixir – a homemade cordial and liqueur business with Amelia selling these products and running cocktail making classes to support and promote the business and use of the product. Not only was the idea great, but the amount of research that was in the business plan was also impressive.

Business of the Year

Sponsored by: Green Hills Cleaning
Presented by: Amy Bedford      

Business of the Year is the premier award and is open to any business that can demonstrate a successful track record of excellence and achievement. There were 19 entries for this Award.

Lynwood’s & Co, Burford, Fairford & Lechlade

Bulldog Websites, Fairford
Lechlade Festival
Wrag Barn Golf Club, Highworth

The judges were impressed by the quality if the Lynwoods entry and all the facts and figures that backed up this incredible journey of business success, expanding the business, training and employing local people and having a clear vision of bring an Australian style café culture to our corner of the Cotswolds.  To open a third coffee shop in Burford and thrive at the same times as a large chain coffee shop is a testament to the quality of the offer and the loyalty this has engendered amongst its customer base.  We are all proud and grateful to have a Lynwoods & Co coffee shop nearby!

Business Person of the Year

Sponsored by: Hersom Whittaker Ltd
Presented by: Simon Hersom

Business acumen should be recognised and encouraged and this Award highlights the skills and ability of a business owner or employee. There were 12 entries for this Award this year.

Anthony Clarke of Lechlade K9

Peter Paredes of Paredes Photography, Fairford
Shaun Higgins of Edward Bays Ltd, Highworth
Kayla Williams of KJ Accounts, Gloucester & Swindon

The judges were astounded by the amount that Anthony has achieved as a young business man in just three years and the passion and dedication he has in making K9 a success. His leadership and organisational skills are consistent with his business aims and goals and in 2019 he wants to develop a charity that will be linked with the Lechlade K9 centre to help others, using the power of dog training.

New Business of the Year

Sponsored by: Butler Toll Ltd
Presented by: James Yeoell 

This category is open to all new ventures started within the last 2 years with those entering showing how their business has progressed from an idea to a trading business. There were 11 entries for this Award this year.

Little Bears Bakery, Carterton

Magic Beans Cafe, Fairford
Rural Workshop Ltd, Hatherop
The Barn Theatre, Cirencester

The judges were moved by the sad story of why Little Bears Bakery was started, as baking was used as a coping method following a family bereavement and the amount of cake produced was too much for family and friends to consume.  The judges were impressed that a hobby has now turned into a full time business with wholesale customers the prime outlet and the opportunities to grow and take on more staff turning from a dream into a reality.

Most Innovative Business of the Year

Sponsored by: ECI Telecom UK
Presented by: John Dunkerley

All businesses are innovative in some way, so entrants had to illustrate how they have managed successfully to introduce new ideas, products, customers, techniques or technology to help grow their business. This category was a very, very close run thing, so all the finalists should take comfort from that! There were 15 entries for this Award this year.

The Barn Theatre, Cirencester

Amelia Bishop Consulting Ltd, Swindon
Wrag Barn Golf Club, Highworth
Jen Winnett Art, Cricklade

The judges were extremely impressed that in the current economic climate an arts venue, starting from scratch with a specific vision had been so successful in such a short space of time and was really appreciated by the local community as a positive resource.  They were also hugely supportive of the educational and development opportunities at the Barn theatre, encouraging those just graduated in the arts and school children to get involved.

The Bob Warren Hospitality Award

This award was set up in 2017 in memory of Bob Warren, former landlord of the Trout Inn, Lechlade, and long-time supporter of the FLBClub.

Thirty two nominated venues were asked to encourage their customers, friends and family to vote for the hospitality venue (café, pub, restaurant, B&B or hotel etc) that best demonstrated the spirit of Bob Warren – offering great hospitality, excellent customer service, a warm and friendly atmosphere and provided a fantastic all round experience. There were over 300 votes for the nominated businesses. These have been counted and the top five venues are:

Spike’s Diner, Fairford

Runners up:
Colosseo Italian Ristorante, Fairford
The Marlborough Arms, Fairford
The Railway Inn, Fairford
Ye Olde Swan @ Radcot

Spike’s Diner is the brainchild of Stuart Pike (S-Pike), who is chairman of Fairford Town Football Club. Stuart and his wife, Sam, have for several years done the catering for events at the Cinder Lane clubhouse for either the Football Club or for private or community events. The natural progression was to create a business of it and call it Spike’s Diner. It has proved very popular with a loyal following. Their menu comprises typically American-diner type food e.g.  quarter pounders; the giant Spike burger and even the mega Spike burger! Stuart believes that fast food and football go together and claims his burgers are “the finest hamburgers in football”.

The Howard Dowler Award

Sponsored by: Fairford Roof Tiles
Presented by: Neil Dowler   

In memory of Howard Dowler, one of the founding members of the Business Club, this is a special Award made by the Chair to the person or business that has made an outstanding contribution to the local community. Howard’s son, Neil, was attending to present the Award.

Shirley Wheeler of Cotswold Boat Hire, Buscot

Shirley was chosen by the Chair of FLBC, as she is hugely supportive of the Business Club. As Vice-Chair of the Club, Shirley provides great input and advice all with a smile on her face – whatever the circumstances. She successfully runs Cotswold Boat Hire whilst supporting other businesses, friends and family whenever they need help. The past year has been particularly challenging for her, but she is the type of person that just carries on with a smile!