KEIGHLEY and Airedale's cream of the business community has been honoured in a glittering ceremony.

The fifth annual business awards were staged at Victoria Hall in Keighley on Friday.

Over 230 guests attended the prestigious event.

"The response to the awards this year has been the best ever," said journalist and broadcaster Harry Gration, who was master of ceremonies.

He introduced sponsors, award winners, business leaders and dignitaries.

Guests included Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress Councillor Abid Hussain and Shahnaz Akhtar, Bradford Council leader Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe and chief executive Kersten England, town mayor Cllr Mohammed Nazam and Keighley MP John Grogan.

Mr Gration also acknowledged the presence of Keighley businessman Trevor Hicks, who has campaigned tirelessly for justice for victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

Cllr Hussain, a Keighley councillor, said he had great pleasure in opening the event.

And Cllr Hinchcliffe paid tribute to all the businesses recognised in the ceremony.

"We need great examples of our current achievers and your stories give us just that," she said.

Steve Burles and Howard Martin, for the organising team, said the awards had gone from strength to strength since their launch in 2013.

"They are now in their fifth year and it's been five years of growth," they said.

"We have become the Keighley and Airedale Business Awards and have a quality event, providing a fantastic opportunity for businesses to showcase their work to their neighbours and peers.

"There is a growing recognition that the awards are the place to be seen."

Headline sponsor this year was Keighley Business Club, founded by Keighley Business Improvement District (BID).

The coveted Overall Business of the Year award went to Silsden-based Snugpak, which also won the Manufacturing Business of the Year and Large Business of the Year honours.

The company produces sleeping bags and insulated clothing.

Sales director, Darren Burrell, said: "We are delighted with our success at the awards.

"As a manufacturing company, we take great pride in our products. To be recognised as manufacturer of the year means everything to us and our 40-strong production team.

"The large and overall business of the year awards set us apart in our industry and this recognition locally will do much to impress our current and potential business partners around the world."

He added: "It was great to see local business so well represented on the evening.

"We are proud to play our small part in the overall success of the Keighley and Airedale area."

Any businesses interested in sponsoring the awards in the future, or helping with organising the event, can obtain further details at


Milner Apprentice Award

Sponsor: Keighley Training Consortium

Awarded by Mick Milner to first-year apprentices on the Industrial Centre of Excellence Advanced Manufacturing-Engineering Programme at Keighley College

Overall Achievement, Harry Conn; Skills Achievement, Dan Milligan; Academic Achievement, Adam Muzyka

Independent Trader of the Year

Sponsor: Airedale Enterprise Services

Winner: Rooms

An independent, family-run furniture business in Hanover Street, Keighley. It has been trading for nine years in what was originally the Burgess Ford garage. There have been several extensions to increase the size of the building.

Special Recognition certificate: Modo Creative

New Business of the Year

Sponsor: Acorn Stairlifts

Winner: Yvonne Sinclair Consulting

The business was founded in July, 2015. It provides safeguarding support via audits, advice, policy development and training to those settings offering educational and early years' provision and community, voluntary and sport services.

Special Recognition certificate: The Stitch Society

Manufacturing Business of the Year

Sponsor: Rotherwood

Winner: Snugpak

Trading for over 40 years, Snugpak has grown from a cottage industry into an internationally-recognised brand with products in use on every continent. It specialises in sleeping bags, clothing and accessories for both the military and outdoor markets. Snugpak has also twice won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in International Trade.

Special Recognition certificate: Wyedean Weaving Company

Financial/Legal Services Business of the Year

Sponsor: AWB Charlesworth

Winner: Mortgage Advice Bureau, Bingley

Established by Andrew Milnes in 2001 and initially trading as Mortgage Q, the firm now operates as part of a UK-wide network of more than 850 mortgage advisors. A move to new premises last year has allowed the business to expand its offering and triple its workforce to 18.

Special Recognition certificate: Northcliffe Mortgages

Food and Drink Business of the Year

Sponsor: Discover Keighley

Winner: Goose Eye Brewery

The brewery was established in 1991 by former butcher Jack Atkinson and his wife Linda. They were soon joined by son David and then grandsons Joe and Jack. They brew real ale using traditional methods.

Special Recognition certificate: Amici Restaurant

Apprentice/Trainee of the Year

Sponsor: Airedale Springs

Winner: Charlotte Gooch, of AWB Charlesworth Solicitors

Charlotte joined the firm as an office assistant in August, 2014. She became a commercial paralegal in June, 2015, and begins her training contract to become a solicitor in September this year. Since joining she has been studying to complete her Legal Practice Course whilst working full-time.

Special Recognition certificate: Thomas Davison, of Northcliffe Mortgages

Charity Business of the Year

Sponsor: Keighley & Airedale Business Awards Steering Group

Winner: One In A Million

One In A Million is a local charity that engages with over 1,800 predominantly-disadvantaged children and young people, aged five to 19, in the Bradford metropolitan district every week. There are daily sports, arts and enterprise-themed programmes in deprived communities around Keighley and Shipley amongst others.

Special Recognition certificate: Dementia Friendly Keighley

Small Business of the Year

Sponsor: The Alternative Board

Winner: The Stitch Society

An emerging, British brand, designing and manufacturing premium luxury work aprons for artisans around the globe. Founder, Charlotte Meek, is now passing on her knowledge working with Keighley College's recently-established Textile Academy.

Special Recognition certificate: Yvonne Sinclair Consultancy

Customer Services Business of the Year

Sponsor: Keighley College

Winner: AWB Charlesworth Solicitors

The company was created six years ago when three different firms came together. It employs 65 people and is continuing to grow.

Special Recognition certificate: Headway Recruitment

Large Business of the Year

Sponsor: Barclays Bank

Winner: Snugpak

Special Recognition certificate: Acorns in Eldwick

Overall Business of the Year (selected from category winners)

Sponsor: Keighley Business Club

Winner: Snugpak

* For more photos, see this week's Keighley News