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Bury Free Press West Suffolk Business Awards finalists revealed for 2023

When comedian Paul Ross welcomed everyone to the inaugural business awards back in 2012, few realised what would grow from that one event.

But here we are, 11 years on, and the event has gone from strength to strength and is a firm fixture on all our calendars.

Judges for 2023 have worked their magic and come up with our finalists who will grace the gala event on October 13 at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds – when we will discover who will walk off with this year’s trophies.

Bury Free Press editor, Barry Peters, with this year’s West Suffolk Business Awards sponsors. Picture: Mark Westley
Bury Free Press editor, Barry Peters, with this year’s West Suffolk Business Awards sponsors. Picture: Mark Westley

So here are your 2023 finalists.

Apprentice/Trainee of the Year
(Sponsored by WS Training)
Benjamin Jones, Hughes Electrical

Benjamin has consistently offered a high level of customer service, with the highest rate of reviews from customers left for him.
Charlie Stewart, Harrod Sport
Charlie should be recognised for this award, said his nomination paper, because he is a role model to other young men.
Jermaine Harrington, Angel Hotel
At the Angel Hotel, Jermaine is now able to run every section of the kitchen. But, even more impressive, is his growth into a mature and charismatic team member.

Award for Innovation
(Sponsored by Treatt)
The Hestia Clinic:
The clinic is located in Bury St Edmunds and has been recognised as a Top 10 UK Aesthetic Clinic 2023.
Eezybike: Eezybike is an E bike rental service in Suffolk and has recently introduced Eezypods - innovative remote controlled bike huts that are both remotely controlled and solar powered.
Alkemy Distillery
Alkemy is a one-of-a-kind distillery in the UK, producing the first UK-grown rum made from sugar beet.

Best New Start Up
(Sponsored by Menta)
Alkemy Distillery

Alkemy was founded in 2021 by two brothers after returning home to Suffolk after some time overseas producing rum.
Artefact Brewing
Artefact was set up in 2020 by husband and wife team, James Phillips and Kat Lawson-Phillips.
The Hestia Clinic
As the first and only dedicated medical cosmetic clinic in Bury St Edmunds, the clinic brings something unique to the town.
Unmatched is a marketing and CRM consultancy

Business Leader of the Year
(Sponsored by Greene &Greene)
Charles Downie, Bacton Transport Service

Charles is committed to building a successful organisation, with the right culture and leadership team with a shared vision to continue growing Bacton Transport.
Paul Donno, 1 Accounts Online
Paul's journey is a testament to his passion for making a positive impact on the community he grew up in, Haverhill.
Rachelle Hutt, Mess Around
Rachelle has worked hard to not only develop herself as a franchisor but also to grow and scale Mess Around. She now has 11 franchisees in the business.
Andrew Stevens, CNet Training
Bury-based CNet Training is the global leader in technical education for the digital infrastructure industry.

Business of the Year ( Medium/ Large)
(Sponsored by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce)
Bennett Homes

Building between 50 and 150 homes every year since the 1960s, the company has consistently delivered high quality, energy efficient new homes.
Bacton Transport Services
Bacton Transport is a fast growing, family-owned, haulage company specialising in pallet haulage and retail logistics.
Guardtech Group
Guardtech is a business that spans out of a company called Guardline Technology that Director Ray Wheeler started in 1981.
Portable Space
Portable Space was born in 2002 following a diversity project carried out by the Black family as part of their farming business.

The Bury Free Press West Suffolk Business Awards will be held at The Apex
The Bury Free Press West Suffolk Business Awards will be held at The Apex

Business of the Year (Small)
(Sponsored by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce)
James Bailey Planning

JBPL is a planning consultancy that was formed in 2020 by owner James Bailey, to provide clients with added planning benefits through local knowledge and extensive experience.
LS Fitness
LS Fitness started as an online brand during the first lock-down of 2020, sharing home workout videos and informational posts about fitness and nutrition via social media.
Midgar Coffee
Since July 2022, Midgar Coffee has been offering a relaxed environment, a wealth of hospitality experience, a personable warm welcome and serving the best coffee and cakes to guests in Bury.
Mess Around
Mess Around took a huge hit over Covid. They went from 35 franchisees down to just 5. After being involved in the BSN awards in 2022, they were acutely aware of how under-represented the Children's Activity Providers industry was. They are working hard to secure their future development but also on the mental health and well-being of the parents, too.

Contribution to the Community
(Sponsored by Cambridge Building Society)
West Suffolk College

Teaching 15,000 students across East Anglia and beyond, the ECG (of which West Suffolk College is a part of) works with 898 employers via apprenticeships, supports 1,732 apprentices and within this, 2,748 work experience placements are currently active.
Theatre Royal
The theatre transforms the lives of people in the local community through the power of the performing arts.
EcoCarriers Bury St Edmunds
They run free cycle training sessions for all ages and abilities - 25 sessions in the past year by the end of September, each with up to 24 participants.
The Coffee House, St Nicholas Hospice Care
The Coffee House Fornham and Moreton Hall pledged to donate 1p per every cup of coffee sold. In addition to other fundraising, they have now raised £27,832 towards the work of the hospice.

Customer Service Award
(Sponsored by Our Bury St Edmunds)
Ellisons Solicitors

Ellisons pride themselves on client service, and the learning and development programmes focus on developing colleagues’ customer care skills.
Queens Bar & Grill Bury
The team aims to make everyone feels at home and comfortable. This means that customers leave recommending them to friends and coming back themselves with different groups.
Sheridans ensure that they are providing outstanding customer services and give the most appropriate advice and information when trying to support selling and purchasing requirements.

Bury Free Press West Suffolk Business Awards 2023
Bury Free Press West Suffolk Business Awards 2023

Employee of the Year
(Sponsored by West Suffolk College)
Isabella Proctor, Unmatched
Isabella is a Digital Account Executive, which means she handles all client work and communications. Isabella pours her heart and soul into what she does.
Laura Elliott, Toolbox Marketing
Laura was 19 when she joined Toolbox Marketing in 2022 as Office Administrator. One year on, she is now Office Manager.
Jill Smith, WS Training
Jill has been employed at the Supported Learning Centre (SLC) for eight years, working as a Learning Support Assistant (LSA) for young people on study programmes.
Katie Donno, 1 Accounts Online
This nomination highlights Katie's exceptional customer service skills and her journey of resilience and triumph.

Freelancer of the Year
(Sponsored by Bay Tree VA)
Louis James-Parker (Louis James-Parker Ltd)

Louis is a freelance filmmaker and photographer focusing on delivering high quality content that creates amazing results for clients.
Clair Bryant (The Handy Marketing Company)
Clair is an advocate for freelancers/ consultants, often publicly promoting the benefits of using the community to businesses.
Stephanie Brooks (EquiVie Coaching for Equestrians)
EquiVie, Coaching for Equestrians, was founded by Stephanie two years ago and has gone from strength to strength offering rider centred coaching for equestrians.
Tom Appleton
Tom has performed across the globe with groups such as the Monteverdi Choir and the St Paul's Cathedral Choir. These experiences have given him a great sense of the power of music.

Green / Environment Award
(Sponsored by arc Shopping Centre)
River Lark Catchment Partnership

This organisation impacts the local environment by removing litter and harmful invasive species, restoring the river banks and channels to improve habitats and biodiversity.
Still Good Food
Still Good Food works to reduce the environmental impact of food waste by ensuring edible surplus food gets to people rather than being thrown away.
EcoCarriers Bury St Edmunds
EcoCarriers is a Community Benefit Society (a type of co-operative). It has a trading arm (zero emission deliveries by bicycle/e-cargobike) and a community arm (projects such as the Bike Library and the award-winning school Bike Train).
Alkemy Distillery
Within the UK market, both importing and producing rum has a significant impact on the environment. Just seven miles from the sugar refinery in Bury, Alkemy is able to vastly reduce its carbon footprint, by not having to ship the raw materials over great distances.

West Suffolk Business Awards sponsors
West Suffolk Business Awards sponsors

Lifetime Achievement Award
(Sponsored by Jaynic)
Justin Godfrey (Thomas Ridley)

Thomas Ridley has been based in Bury for more than 200 years and Justin has steered it forward and built it into a large, stable, profitable business.
Wendy Evans-Hendrick (Orwell Housing)
Over the 29 years Wendy has worked for Orwell Housing as Development Manager, Director of Development, and, for the last five years as CEO, Wendy has always been committed to providing affordable places to live in West Suffolk and beyond.
Hannah Purse (Hannah's Medical Aesthetics)
Hannah offers a helping hand to other small businesses by providing a space in a prime location for other businesses to offer their services from.
Roger Quince
Roger spent 10 years as chair of West Suffolk Hospital, six years as a trustee of the homeless charity, Emmaus, seven years as chair of Theatre Royal, six years as a trustee and vice chair of Unity Schools Partnership and two years as chair of the governing body of County High School in Bury.

Investing in West Suffolk
(Sponsored by West Suffolk Council)
Cameron Ventures Group

Over the past 12 months, Cameron Ventures has continued to invest in their business. This includes refurbishment projects, new rooms, new concept trials in dark kitchens, as well as a unique training programme for Ukrainians affected by the war to retrain.
Camp Tails
Camp Tails is a luxury dog daycare business that also offers grooming and an overnight service. Since 2016, they have grown from 2 to 20 staff.
Level Up Print
Based in Newmarket, Level Up Print has grown exceptionally in sales each year and now works with big brands including CLAAS, Marshalls, Ashtons Legal and the National Horse Racing Museum.
Dr Nikos Savvas (West Suffolk College)
It is 10 years since Nikos Savvas became CEO of West Suffolk College. The group now employs 1,350 staff and has about 15,000 students. While the aim of attending college is to come out with a qualification, Nikos says where the college adds value is by giving students connections with businesses.