SO often Joe Manby Ltd, the Harrogate exhibition and conference organiser, plans the limelight and the glory for others.

This time the organisation enjoyed the plaudits and applause itself for perfecting the art of being “on display” over the past 35 years.

Brothers Richard and Andrew Manby are heirs to the traditions and success of their dad, Joe Manby, who started the venture in 1974 as a specialist event company to service the growing number of shows in Harrogate.

Joe died in 1995, but Richard and Andrew continued to expand the company’s reputation – and its order book – by spreading its efforts to exhibition centres throughout the UK.

Adorning the walls of the company’s offices in Hookstone Park are testimonials from appreciative clients, including David Cameron, the Tory leader With 38 staff and an annual show portfolio of 80 events in more than 25 venues in the UK, Joe Manby Ltd is now thought to be the largest independent family business within its sector.

Andrew and Richard have stayed true to the values of their father.

The fact that the firm is now a major player in the industry is down to the Manby brothers as well as their committed staff.

Judges observed: “In an industry that has suffered significantly in the economic downturn they have continued to win new deals securing long-term contracts that will see them through and provide a platform for growth in the future.”

Family Business Of The Year

Winner: Joe Manby Ltd

Finalists: The Balloon Tree Farm Shop and Café and The Farmer’s Cart