THE 'brightest and best' were honoured at a glittering awards ceremony at King George's Hall.

The ninth annual Blackburn with Darwen Business Awards, hosted by Bauer Radio's Trevor Jordan, saw nearly 300 guests from some of the region’s leading companies gather to find out who would pick up a coveted Hive award.

Ian Brown, chair of the Hive Ambassadors Network, the business group for Blackburn with Darwen which organises the awards every year, said: "It was an incredible night, with some fantastic organisations in the running for an award.

"The atmosphere and support for each other in the room was phenomenal; and I know I speak on behalf of the judges when I say that the high standard of business and passion shown by all the finalists had never been greater.

"Everyone who was both a finalist and a winner should be rightly proud of the what they’ve achieved for both their company but also the positive impact they’d had on the Blackburn with Darwen area."

All organisations entering the awards had to go through a rigorous judging process, including written submissions which were scored by an independent panel, followed by group interviews for most of the award categories.

Entries were narrowed down to just a few finalists in each of the categories and the winners on the night were:

  • Commitment to Blackburn & Darwen Award - Nybble
  • Micro Business of the Year - Cube HR
  • Rising Star of the Year - Lee Chambers (Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing)
  • Rising Star of the Year - Special Recognition: Jordan Murchie (Sporting NRG)
  • Employee of the Year - Jackie Robinson (Laura Hartley Recruitment Ltd)
  • Environmental Business of the Year - The Senator Group
  • Growth Business of the Year - Star Tissue UK Ltd
  • Family Business of the Year - Forest Group
  • Small Business of the Year - Sporting NRG Ltd
  • The Health, Wellbeing & Social Care Award - PT Health Coaching
  • New Business of the Year - Delilah Chloe
  • Catering & Hospitality Award - The Whitehall Hotel
  • HIVE Entrepreneur of the Year - Neil Bullows (The Whitehall Hotel)
  • Investing in Future Skills Award - Ainsworth Jewellers
  • Manufacturing Excellence Award - Tek-Dry Systems Ltd
  • Professional Services Award - Pierce - Business Advisory And Accountancy Group
  • Medium / Large Business of the year - Herbert Parkinson Ltd
  • The Hive Chairman's Award - Blackburn Foodbank
  • The Arte Et Labore Award - Councillor Mohammed Khan CBE

Mr Brown said: "The winners really showcase the best of Blackburn with Darwen and how organisations can prosper but also use that success to benefit the region, which is what both the awards and our ethos as the Hive Business Network is all about."

He added: "I'd also like to give special thanks to our sponsors this year including headline sponsors Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackburn College; drink sponsors Barnfield Construction; and category sponsors, Star Tissue, Eric Wright Group, WHN Solicitors, KRPR, PM+M, Westholme School, Pierce Business Advisory and Accountancy Group and East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

"It's the support of these sponsors which helps us really make these awards a success."

The evening also culminated with entertainment from comedian Steve Royle from Britain's Got Talent fame and singer Miranda Myles from Blackburn.

A kind donation of a sterling steel bracelet with bespoke 'Hive' bead from Ainsworth Jewellers also helped raise £1070 for Blackburn Youth Zone.