Dedicated couple given the title of 'Leamington Legends' as the winners are announced at the annual business awards

The winners of the Leamington Business Awards 2019. Photo by Sally Evans Photography.
The winners of the Leamington Business Awards 2019. Photo by Sally Evans Photography.

An evening of celebration also raised £4,500 for local charities at The Leamington Business Awards.

The 2019 awards, organised for the first time by Leamington Business Forum, shone a spotlight on some of the district’s entrepreneurial success stories.

The winners of the Leamington Legends Awards - Archie and Marianne Pitts, with Stephanie Kerr (Executive Director - BID Leamington). Photo by Sally Evans Photography.

The winners of the Leamington Legends Awards - Archie and Marianne Pitts, with Stephanie Kerr (Executive Director - BID Leamington). Photo by Sally Evans Photography.

Established in 2014, the Awards champion and celebrate the work of local businesses, individuals and organisations while also raising vital funds for local charities.

Now in its sixth year, the black-tie ceremony was held at the newly renovated Royal Pump Rooms and presided over by Master of Ceremonies, Dave Sharpe. More than 180 guests were treated to a three-course dinner and drinks, with entertainment and a charity raffle, as well as the awards presentation.

Commercial property company AC Lloyd scooped Business of the Year as well as Property Business of the Year at the glittering ceremony on Friday night.

For the first time, the Leamington Business Awards included two new categories, the Warwick District Charity Award won by P3 and The Warwickshire Achievement Awards, won by Springfield Mind and Leamington Art in the Park Festival.

The People’s Choice Award winner, sponsored by The Leamington Courier, was revealed as Temperance, a vintage shop, art gallery, cafe, live music venue, art cinema and performance space.

A special surprise award of the night went to Marianne and Archie Pitts. The Leamington Legend Award was introduced by BID Leamington to recognise and express gratitude for the special contribution that people make to Leamington over many years. The award was created in memory of Gerry McManus – the former manager of Royal Priors Shopping Centre and founding board member of BID Leamington -- who championed the power of teamwork and greatly valued the work of local volunteers who care passionately about the town.

Stephanie Kerr, Executive Director, BID Leamington said “It was our pleasure to present the first Leamington Legend award to Archie and Marianne Pitts whose contribution to Leamington has been immense.

“They care greatly about our town and for many years have championed high profile projects such as the restoration of the Pump Room Gardens and Bandstand, the Linden Arches and the railway station gardens and war memorial, which benefit us all. They are also strong advocates for the town’s heritage, architecture and narrative and have supported and inspired many other volunteers to aim higher with their passion and enthusiasm.”

The Business Awards event was made possible thanks to the generous support of sponsors and local organisations who donated funds, supplies and skills to ensure the continued success of the Leamington Business Awards. Businesses include Bravissimo, IAPS, Lodders, The Royal Priors, Aubrey Allen, The Kingsley School, The Box Factory, Tara & Co, Withers & Rodgers, Harrison Beale & Owen, Bellagio Stone, Prontaprint, ISTEAD and media sponsors Business & Innovation Magazine and The Leamington Courier.

The judging panel was made up of: Roger Scott of Lloyds Bank; Sarah Windrum from IT Consultancy Emerald Group; Louise Richards from touring dance circus company Motionhouse; and Mark Ashfield, Managing Director of HB&O - and former awards organiser.

The awards this year, crafted and designed by Leamington College students Harvey Farren, Libbi Ancill-Griffiths and Melissa Clayton.

Jonathan Smith, of Leamington Business Forum, said: “I was delighted the event was such a success. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it and all the winners were well supported on the night.

“The feedback coming back from everyone was that it felt like a real celebration of what’s good about Leamington and the community and the fact that we have included that community element involving the Leamington Legend and People’s Choice and charities awards was appreciated.”

The £4,500 total proceeds from the night will be distributed between the four finalists in the Warwick District Charity of the Year category, winners P3 and Young People First, The Ups of Downs and Leam Trash Friends.

Matt Langsford, founder of Leam Trash Friends said: "This funding is vital to our operations as we rely solely on donations to cover our running costs. The funds will be put to good use to assist with our mission of making the streets of our district cleaner and safer for those who live, work and visit our region.”

David Skoppek, Chief Officer of Young People First, said: “Young People First is deeply appreciative of the Awards. To be highly commended as a charity for our work is more than enough but to then receive the donation is incredible.”

Nicola Enoch, founder of The Ups of Downs said: “We are thrilled to receive a contribution from Friday’s fundraising. As a Leamington based charity we’re always delighted to receive the support of local businesses.”

Plans are already afoot for the 2020 Leamington Business Awards which are being held at on November 13th. Potential sponsors are invited to contact Jonathan Smith at: leamingtonbusinessawards@gmail.com

LEAMINGTON BUSINESS AWARDS 2019 IN FULL

New Business of the Year (Sponsored by Lodders)

Bluebasil www.bluebasil.co.uk
This coffee bar and vintage shop opened at the start of May 2018 as a multi-functional shop and coffee bar, situated in the creative end of Old Town. Plans for 2020 include the introduction of a vintage dressing room with expanded clothing range, a small fashion show to launch our vintage wedding dresses and some creative and arty workshops.

Owner Nikki Taylor said: “We are absolutely delighted to win the New Business of The Year award. This means a lot to our whole team who have worked really hard to create a unique and fun environment and bring something extra to Old Town.”

Business and the Community Award - (Sponsored by The Royal Priors))

Wright Hassall LLP www.wrighthassall.co.uk
Alex Robinson, Partner at Wright Hassall, said: “We are honoured to have been recognised for our work within the community and to have won the Business and the Community award. We work with clients across the country but we have been a Leamington firm for over 170 years so we take our role within the local area both as an employer and business very seriously.

“As a firm we have a range of initiatives throughout Leamington and the local area which support charities and businesses, reduce our environmental impact, support events such as the Regency Run and continue to run free monthly legal advice sessions.

“This year has been a particularly busy one for our Corporate Social Responsibility team, supported by the firm as a whole and so to be recognised by our peers in the local area in this way is fantastic.”

Judge Sarah Windrum said: “We were incredibly impressed with the continued commitment Wright Hassall make to their local community and in such a variety of ways. They have a Community Fund where the whole company votes to contribute financially to causes close to their own hearts and they actively encourage their employees to take roles on regional boards and supporting them in that process. It’s crucial businesses are involved at all levels of community and Wright Hassall achieve this so well.”

Customer Excellence Award - (Sponsored by The Box Factory)

Modern Homes www.modernhomesleamington.co.uk
The longest established kitchen, bathroom and bedroom business in the area has entered its 52nd year and third family generation.

Tina Riley, Managing Director, said: “As a small independent kitchen and bathroom showroom, we have always put customer service at the top of our agenda, and believe this is why we have a loyal local client base that has supported us through our 51 year history, but to have this award just recognises we have achieved this!”

“The evening was superb and it was brilliant to be part of such a vibrant supportive business community that we are so lucky to have in Leamington Spa!”

Warwick District Charity of the Year - (Sponsored by Aubrey Allen)

P3 Charity www.p3charity.org
The P3 Warwickshire team forms part of a national charity, offering a diverse range of housing-related support for adults over 25. Operating out of hubs in Leamington, Stratford, Rugby and Nuneaton, street outreach workers identify and, offer support to, people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness by engaging them with the relevant services.

Esther Barrett, Head of Support and Community Services, said: “P3 are delighted to have been recognised for their persistent and passionate support with people who find themselves on the streets in Warwick District. P3 will continue to work alongside those most vulnerable throughout Warwickshire and we really appreciate the support of local communities and businesses. The funding we also received will really assist our staff to support people further.”

Young Person of the Year (Sponsored by IAPS)

Aaron Watkinson

Aaron Watkinson, 25, from Wolston, is a dancer and education lead at touring dance circus company Motionhouse.

Aaron said of his award: “I couldn’t be more thrilled. It means so much to me that others think I’m making such a positive impact on the young people I work with – I love working with them. My dance teachers inspired me when I was younger, and I want to do the same for the young people I work with.”

Jane Bailey, Communications and Development Director of Motionhouse, who nominated Aaron for the award, said: “Aaron does some brilliant work with children and young people – he’s a true inspiration to the people he teaches, taking them on a life-affirming journey, which is why he thoroughly deserves the award.”

Employer of the Year (Sponsored by Bravissimo)

Playground Games www.playground-games.com
This BAFTA Award-winning, AAA video game developer and Xbox Games Studio based in Leamington was stablished in 2010 and their latest release is the critically-acclaimed Forza Horizon franchise with Forza Horizon 4, ranking as the highest rated Xbox exclusive of this generation.

Gavin Raeburn, Studio Director, said: “We’re proud to call Leamington Spa our home and so we’re delighted to be recognised at our local awards. This year we’ve expanded to two facilities in Leamington town centre, employing more than 200 staff, and we look forward to many more years of growth and success here.”

South Warwickshire Achievement of the Year (Sponsored by Tara & Co)

Springfield Mind https://springfieldmind.org.uk
Established in South Warwickshire 35 years ago, this grant and local authority-funded charity/Limited Company, helps people who are suffering from mental distress. They work with clients individually or in a group setting with much of the focus on early intervention.

Carol Roberts, Policy Officer for Springfield Mind, said: “Springfield Mind provides peer support and drop in at Southborough Terrace, Leamington and Cygnet Court in Stratford-upon-Avon on weekly basis, we have a secret garden in Northumberland Terrace in Leamington and at garden therapy at Lifeways in Stratford town.

“We also deliver Mental Health First Aid and Wellbeing training for local businesses to reduce stigma and promote a positive message around mental wellbeing.

“It was an honour to accept this award in my role as Chair of Trustees for Springfield Mind along with Trustee Ian Carson.”

Innovation of the Year (Sponsored by Withers and Rogers)

3S Knowledge Ltd www.3sk.co.uk
3SK is a consultancy, at Warwick Technology Park, which specialises in developing processes and technology designs for complex products like electric cars, trains etc.

Giresh Krishnan, Co-Founder and Chief Engineer, said: “We attended the awards night with no expectations. When our name was announced we were shocked and equally exited. This was a thrilling moment for us as we started our company a year ago and to win this prestigious award was a real heart-warming moment for us and our families.”

Judge Sarah Windrum said: “Infrastructure and engineering are the bedrock of innovation which is why we chose 3S for Innovation of the Year award. Their list of patents was so impressive clearly demonstrating how important it is to protect and commercialise global innovation for an individual business but also for our town. It’s great to see companies like 3S continue to keep Leamington on the world stage for new ideas and innovation.”

Outstanding Achievement of the Year (Sponsored by The Kingsley School)

Leamington Art in the Park Festival www.artinpark.co.uk
Art in the Park was conceived in August 2014 when Mo Finessey from the Leamington Studio Artists and Carole Sleight along with a lot of friends, family and volunteers welcomed 50 artists and 5,000 visitors to Jephson Gardens. Since then the festival has grown in diversity of artists, music, performers, community outreach and engagement. In 2018 they proudly became the largest free arts festival in Warwickshire.

Judge Mark Ashfield said: “This event goes from strength to strength. The festival showcases the diversity of the talent in the local area and the organisers devote a significant amount of time in delivering such a fantastic event.”

Independent Business of the Year (Sponsored by HB&0)

Lockwoods Ski and Outdoor https://lockwoods.com
This independent family business specialises in the sale and fitting of walking boots, ski boots and all outdoor activity clothing and accessories. The family-run business is now in its 43rd year still operating from the same premises in Milverton.

Manager Hayley Key said: . “This is thanks to our customers who continue to value our family ethos and knowledgeable staff. At this challenging time for retail, and as we move into our third generation of family management, this award is a tribute to the work of my aunt and father, and our amazing team, many of whom have been with us for several decades. We look forward to the decades more to come and of course to the ski season ahead!”

Property Business of the Year (Sponsored by Bellagio Stone)

A C Lloyd http://aclloyd.com
AC Lloyd has been building and developing in the region for more than seven decades and many of the successful commercial schemes across the area have been developed by the group, which currently employs 30 staff.

Business of the Year

A C Lloyd http://aclloyd.com
Mark Edwards, Managing Director of AC Lloyd, said: “We were all thrilled to win the Property Business of the Year, but to then land the overall award was fantastic. It was a great night and underlined the array of superb businesses we have in and around Leamington.

“We work across the country but very much regard ourselves as a Leamington firm. It gives us great pride to see that many of our developments have become home to some the area’s most successful companies – companies who employ local people, create jobs and bring investment. Many of those people also live in AC Lloyd homes helping to create successful communities across the area.

“We – like many of the nominated companies – firmly believe in contributing to our community which is one of the reasons that Leamington is such a great place to work and live. We have a very dedicated team throughout AC Lloyd and they are a major reason we continue to thrive.”

People’s Choice Award (Sponsored by Leamington Courier)

Temperance www.temperance.bar
Owner Adrian Gains said: "Temperance only opened last year so to win this award is beyond our wildest dreams. We were overwhelmed by the number of our customers that nominated us and that makes it extra special. It was the award we most wanted most to win."

Leamington Legend Award

Marianne and Archie Pitts