The best in business gather for the 2019 Times Business Awards

Strictly star Anton du Beke regaled the packed Salomons Theatre audience on Thursday with tales of backstage gossip from the hit BBC show, including the time he danced with former Maidstone MP Ann Widdecombe.

Anton, who was brought up in Sevenoaks, said he was ‘delighted’ to be back in the area.

 “It’s wonderful that people are doing so well. 

“I really enjoy these sorts of evenings and lovely celebrations of local businesses,” he told the sell-out audience at the black-tie gala event.

Joining Anton on stage to present the fourth annual Times Business Awards was Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce CEO and Chair of the judging panel Jo James. 

Anton described her as ‘a remarkable woman – remarkable in the fact that she has never watched Strictly Come Dancing’.

More than 200 guests enjoyed a three-course meal before the celebrations began. 

They were entertained with a little sleight of hand and card tricks by Sevenoaks magician, Orion.

Guests heard from Gavin Tyler, Managing Partner at Tunbridge Wells law firm Cripps Pemberton Greenish, who for the fourth year were headline sponsors.

He told the audience: “It is fantastic to see so many companies come together and celebrate, and demonstrate just what a vibrant business community we have.”

New developers in Tunbridge Wells, Elysian Residences, who are regenerating the much-maligned ABC Cinema site with a mixed-use project, were hospitality sponsors.

 “This evening would not be possible without the businesses who have sponsored the ten categories and other vital elements, such as hospitality and welcome drinks,” said Richard Moore Editorial Director of The Times of Tunbridge Wells and Times of Tonbridge. He also compered the evening.

Anton du Beke took a few good-
humoured pot shots at several members of the audience before the evening began in earnest, with local companies and business individuals picking up the ten coveted awards.

It was second time lucky for tailors Hardman & Hemming, who picked up the award for Creative Business of the Year, having been a runner-up in 2018.

Business Awards’ stalwarts Loch Associates Group won the Best Business 1-25 employees, which comes on the back of their 2017 double win for Outstanding Business of the Year and Best Business Person of the Year.

“Once again, we have been overwhelmed by the number of quality entries that we have received this year, making the job of the judging panel very difficult indeed,” commented Head Judge Jo James.

She continued: “It may have been a challenge, but also it was a pleasure – a pleasure to see how much entrepreneurial activity is happening across West Kent. 

As the winners celebrated, and the runners-up toasted their rivals’ success, the crowd were entertained by Olly Murs’ former band, Funk2K, who played a raft of old favourites to which the guests danced the rest of the night away.

Congratulations to our 2019 award winners


Start-up Business of the Year

SPN Lifestyle

Award sponsor: Thomson Snell & Passmore


Creative Business of the Year

Hardman & Hemming Bespoke Tailors

Award sponsor: Studio 44


Entrepreneur of the Year

Claire Burroughs – Ansacom

Awards sponsor: Charles Stanley


Young Person of the Year

Sean Rozen – Duke & Hyde

Award sponsor: Castle Cars


Service Excellence Award

Archway Automotive

Award sponsor: Handelsbanken


Best in Food and Drink

Framptons Café Bar & Kitchen

Award sponsor: Targetfollow


Family Business of the Year

Runway Training

Award sponsor: Childrensalon


Best Business 25+ Employees

CT Travel Group

Award sponsor: John Bullock Design


Best Business 1-25 Employees

Loch Associates Group

Award sponsor: The Perfume Studio


Outstanding Business of the Year

Fox Marketing Services

Award sponsor: Royal Tunbridge Wells Together

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