A LEADING family firm was crowned overall winner as the cream of the region’s companies went head to head at the final of The Press Business Awards 2019.

More than 300 people attended the glittering black tie ceremony, held last night at York Racecourse, where plant, tree and shrub supplier Johnsons of Whixley Ltd won the coveted Press Business of the Year title.

Johnsons, which was founded in 1921 before being taken over by horticulturist John Richardson in 1964, also scooped the Family Business category. Judges were particularly impressed that the firm now employs three generations of Richardsons on the team.

Hosted by BBC presenter Colin Hazelden-Brice, the evening was also a big night for Benenden Health who enjoyed double celebrations after triumphing in both the Employer of the Year and the Socially Responsible Business categories.

The event, sponsored by TalkTalk’s York Ultra Fibre Optic project, was the culmination of one of the most hotly-contested competitions in recent years, according to the judges, who said the standard of entries from right across York, North and East Yorkshire, was exceptionally high.

Choosing a Business Personality of the Year from the three finalists was particularly difficult, but the “tenacity, commitment and spirit” of entrepreneur Tricia Sheriff convinced judges that she deserved to take the title this year. Tricia’s business, She Loves York, connects local people with local businesses.

The Skills Network, which has helped to deliver thousands of qualifications to learners across the UK, won the Large Business of the Year Award, while project engineers ISF were named Small Business of the Year.

Luxury leather goods supplier Maxwell-Scott were named Exporter of the Year. Judges handed “awe-inspiring” ilke Homes the New Business award, and web developer Netsells won Business Innovation of the Year.

It seemed appropriate that single malt whisky distiller Spirit of Yorkshire won the Retail, Tourism and Leisure award on a night that celebrated all that is great about our region.

Don’t miss The Press on Wednesday for a souvenir supplement showcasing all the winners from last night’s ceremony.

2019 Press Business Awards Roll of Honour

Small Business of the Year: Winner ISF, Finalists Netsells, RotaCloud

New Business of the Year: Winner ilke Homes Ltd, Finalists Angela Bare, York Gin

Socially Responsible Business of the Year: Winner Benenden Health, Finalists Torque Law LLP, Choc Affair

Employer of the Year: Winner Benenden Health, Finalists Home Instead Senior Care, ilke Homes Ltd

Large Business of the Year: Winner The Skills Network, Finalists Soanes Poultry, Johnsons of Whixley Ltd

Business Personality of the Year: Winner Tricia Sheriff, Finalists Graham Usher, Tarnia Hudson

Business Innovation of the Year: Winner Netsells, Finalists Tancream, Roche Legal

Family Business of the Year : Winner Johnsons of Whixley Ltd, Finalists Playscheme, Glencor Golf Holidays

Retail Tourism and Leisure Business of the Year: Winner Spirit of Yorkshire, Finalists Jorvik Viking Centre, Humble Bee Leisure

Exporter of the Year: Winner Maxwell-Scott, Finalists Maximise PM Ltd, Wold Top Brewery

Business of the Year 2019: Johnsons of Whixley Ltd