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We are very much a Norfolk owned, Norfolk business. We created our vision focusing on people, service and the environment seven years ago and everything we do from boardroom meetings down stems back to that vision
Ian Hacon Chief Executive, Blue Sky Leisure

EDP Business Awards 2013

Congratulations to all of our winners of the 2013 EDP Business Awards!

Norfolk Showground Arena was the venue for the event, which celebrates the achievements of our local companies.

More than 300 firms entered this year’s awards – a record number –with 36 finalists competing to win 12 categories.

Hosted by BBC Look East’s Stewart White, the ceremony also saw Adnams chief executive and New Anglia Local Enterprise partnership chairman Andy Wood unveiled as the winner of the Denise Anderson Award for outstanding achievement, sponsored by Anglian Water.

Meanwhile Blue Sky Leisure was crowned Barclays Business of the Year. Based in Bradwell, near Great Yarmouth, the company, which runs Kelling Heath and Woodhill Park, has been providing holidays in Norfolk for nearly 40 years.

It also includes the Zaks American-style diner brand, which this year announced it was using a franchise model to expand beyond Norfolk.

Unveiling the Business of the year award winner Tim Seeley, head of East Anglia and national head of Agribusiness for Barclays, said Blue Sky Leisure was a business which was “passionate about its people, customer service and the environment with outstanding financial performance” with a management team “empowered by the owners to achieve continuous improvement, develop ideas and drive the diverse group forward”.

The evening also saw ‘surprise’ performances from a group of singing waiters, while keynote speaker Brendan Hopkins, former chief executive of APN News and Media in Australia, who now runs the Hoste in Burnham Market, spoke about his media career and also posed a tantalising suggestion that Norfolk should be rebranded from Nelson’s County to ‘the Royal County’.

Mark Pendlington, group director at Anglian Water, said Dr Wood was a “very deserving winner” of the Denise Anderson award.

“He is one of Norfolk and East Anglia’s most familiar, popular and well respected business leaders,” he said. “He has led by example in growing the hugely successful Adnams business, and his leadership and enthusiasm inspire a great many people at home and abroad. Whether it’s through his commitment to sustainability, his drive to secure jobs and business growth, or his campaign to improve the skills and life chances of our region’s young people.

“He established the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership to become one of the strongest and most effective LEPs in the country, attracting tens of millions of pounds of investment to support growth and opportunity in many of the world class companies located here.”

Business editor Shaun Lowthorpe said: “This has been a record-breaking year for the awards, with more than 300 entries received – the most we have ever received, by a comfortable margin.

“The quality of the applications was exceptional and it is no exaggeration to say that judges faced a difficult task in selecting our finalists – and our winners.”

“And to those finalists, I would like to say congratulations. Tonight we will hear some of your stories and examples of innovation, enterprise and success which I hope will prove inspiring to us all. Because this is what our Business Awards are all about. And as we start to see some light at the end of the tunnel for our economy, it is more important than ever to celebrate the achievements of our local businesses.”