2012 winners announced in Gala setting

The winners of the inaugural Uckfield Business Awards were announced at a glittering gala awards night dinner on Thursday night (1 November) at the East Sussex National Hotel. Attended by 330 people, the event proved what a thriving and innovative business community exists in Uckfield.

"Given the economic instability that surrounds us all, and the impact it has had on our local economy, it is entirely fitting to celebrate the achievements of a town that is showing tremendous resilience in the face of such testing times," said Adrian Corbin, co-organiser of the Uckfield Business Awards, on behalf of the Uckfield Chamber of Commerce. "Never has an economic downturn been so long and uncertain, and yet Uckfield is tackling it in the same way that if faces every crisis - with a sense of togetherness."

winners line up

Added Neil Edwards, Managing Director of The Marketing Eye (co-organiser of the Awards): "The response to the awards from the business community and the public alike was overwhelming. Applications were received from nearly 100 businesses and there have been more than 450 votes from members of the public, all eager to recognise and endorse their favourite local companies. Every one of the 15 categories in the Awards has been supported."

Business of the Year (sponsored by Parker Building Supplies), went to Challenge Packaging. Based in Ridgewood and established for more than 25 years, the company was initially set-up to supply boxes to local businesses. Today, the company offers a wide range of packaging materials - from pallet wrap to postal packaging - and has customers over a 120 mile radius and employs more than 60 people.

KBC PR & Marketing walked away with two awards - for Small Business of the Year and Business Person of the Year (for its owner Kate Burgess-Craddy), as did itmsoil for Fastest Growing Business and Outstanding Achievement (which went to Jon Scott).

"I am delighted and honoured to have been recognised by the Uckfield Business Awards," said Kate Burgess-Craddy. "To win one award would have been fantastic but to receive two was the icing on the cake."

Added Jim Woodhams, technical director at itmsoil: "We've grown from 70 people to a team of nearly 200 in just over two years. The Awards evening was excellent with a great turnout."

The event was attended by Charles Hendry, MP for Wealden, who said: "It's been an amazing evening and great to see companies which, in difficult economic times, are doing tremendously good things. It was also striking at the end to see all the winners on the stage which showed what a young, dynamic and energetic town Uckfield is and this bodes well for the future."

Added Adrian Corbin: "It was a fantastic evening. Everyone really enjoyed themselves and the winners looked wonderful on stage. The reaction from the audience was great and I'm delighted."

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