The Lancashire Telegraph Business Awards was, as ever, a great night for all those who attended the lavish event on Friday.

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Guests were greeted with a sparkling champagne reception as they waited to be seated the opulent Premier Suite at Blackburn Rovers’ Ewood Park stadium.

Gentlemen in black-tie attire and ladies in glamorous cocktail dresses and ball gowns were then shown through to their tables.

Diners enjoyed a delicious meal of cream of Hesketh Bank vegetable soup, slow-cooked shoulder of lamb and raspberry and vanilla creme brulee, courtesy of Northcote at Rovers.

Introducing the awards, Lancashire Telegraph editor Kevin Young said: “We are in the grip of a very serious recession but East Lancashire is positioning itself better than most, in particular with an encouraging resurgence in the manufacturing sector.

“There is also some wonderful innovation, a bit like Dragons’ Den, only our products really do work! Tonight is a celebration.”

This was a theme for the night – stoicism in the face of growing economic concerns. But East Lancashire businesspeople are a tough lot and there was a real sense that they were ready to meet the challenge head on.

Dennis Taylor, former world snooker champion, was welcomed on to the stage with rapturous applause before regaling the audience with tales of his days on the professional circuit. Dennis also praised the Lancashire Telegraph for its help in kick starting his career.

He said: “I am delighted to be here for these business awards. Without the Lancashire Telegraph, and the Find A Champion competition, I wouldn’t have turned professional.”

Dennis, who used to sell television sets for Relayvision, Darwen Street, added: “My very first tournament was the East Lancashire Snooker Championship.

“I retired seven years ago and was very lucky that the game took me all over the world. I spent 37 years in Blackburn. It’s good to be back.”

BBC television weather presenter Dianne Oxberry, wearing a cream satin dress, returned for her fifth year announcing the awards.

She said: “This event celebrates the best that East Lancashire has to offer, with some of the most dynamic and successful companies here.

“Tonight proves that East Lancashire has got an awful lot to offer with its industry, creativity and work force.”

Dianne then announced the 11 awards which celebrated the achievements of the area’s companies.

Starting with Recruitment and Development, it finished an hour later with Aircelle, Burnley, being named Business of the Year.

Once again, the Lancashire Telegraph Business Awards recognised what East Lancashire has to offer and the pride shown by the area’s business people and employees.

Click on the links below to read more about about each winner.

To buy photographs from the event, click on the link below.