The York business community came together at the Press Business Awards 2022, which this year attracted record entries and a record turnout.

Some 600 attended the glittering black-tie event- around twice the amount of last year- to celebrate their innovation, resilience and triumph amid a year of political and economic turbulence.

The awards, held at York Racecourse last night (Thur), established a benchmark for entrepreneurial excellence in the region when they were set up three decades ago.

Nigel Burton, editor of The Press, said businesses who have survived the pandemic, the energy price rises and the cost of living crisis all “deserve a pat on the back.”

He paid tribute to Andrew Digwood, the former president and current vice president of York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, died after a short illness from colon cancer on November 6, aged just 46.

Mr Digwood’s funeral had been held at York Minister earlier in the day, followed by a small family service at York Crematorium.

Mr Burton described Mr Digwood as “Mr Business in York”, noting his ‘passion’ for York, ‘passion for business’ and ‘passion’ for making the city a better place.

Max Reeves, of chief sponsor the Helmsley Group said with resilience, businesses can thrive and after a fine vocal performance from singer Amara Hollinrake, the awards started in earnest.

Small Business of the Year went to learning and development company Pro Development, helped by its rapid growth.

New Business of the Year went to marketing consultancy Open Velocity, which also reports rapid growth, with ambitions to ‘go global.’

The Socially Responsible Business of the Year went to York Gin, which aims to create the best working conditions for its staff, be fair to suppliers and almost achieving ‘Net Zero’ helped by its local sourcing.

Employer of the Year was RotaCloud for its efforts in making RotaCloud a ‘decent place to work’ by looking at all aspects of work, including training and career opportunities.

Large Business of the Year went to the family-owned PPS (Professional Paper Supplies) , which has been expanding into West Yorkshire.

Business Personality of the Year went to Adam Wardale, general manager of the 4-star Middleton’s Hotel.  The chairman of Hospitality Association York was also cited for helping women prisoners at Askham Grange find jobs and stay out of prison.

The award for Business Innovation went to Fera Science Ltd  at Sand Hutton for using  earth sciences to create practical solutions to help society and the environment.

Family Business of the Year went to the Cedarbarn Farm Shop at Pickering for its staff who are ‘passionate about everything.’

City Cruises York won Retail, Tourism and Leisure Business of the Year for breaking records, their customer service and use of ‘cute boats’, which they said was ‘a team effort.’

Apprentice of the Year went to 18-year-old Reuben Philpott, for how he believed in service and helping people: “It’s how I am,” he told the audience.

Manufacturer of the Year went to the rapidly-growing Brew York for beating targets amid a ‘turbulent two years.’

The overall Business of the Year went to Fera Science Ltd for its efforts in trying to feed the world as the planet moves towards Net Zero.

York Press sales director Steve Lowe said today: “It’s really important we showcase the best of York business in a way that encourages, motivates and makes people proud of their achievements.

“This year’s awards were bigger than previous in both the number of entries but also the guests attending, which is great news. Thank you to those who entered, thank you to our sponsors, especially the Helmsley Group, who were our main sponsor, without sponsorship these awards would not take place”

* See The Press Business Awards souvenir supplement on Wednesday.