Keighley and District Business Awards

Keighley and District Business Awards

Award Ceremony celebrates the good business news stories of Keighley and counteracts negative perceptions of the town.

Set up seven years ago to ensure the many good news stories about Keighley and district businesses were celebrated, the Keighley and Airedale Business Awards has gone from strength to strength.

And the recent 2019 awards at the town’s Victoria Hall clearly demonstrated that, with a sell out audience enjoying a night of entertainment and networking compered by BBC presenter Harry Gration.

Guests at the black-tie event included MP John Grogan, Keighley town mayor Cllr Peter Corkindale, and Bradford Council leader Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe. The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Doreen Lee, officially opened the ceremony.

One of the co-chairman of the awards organising committee, Howard Martin, said negative perceptions of the town and the district had inspired the idea of setting up an awards event.


“The area as a whole didn’t really shout out about its success stories. Keighley and the whole of the Bradford district was getting a bit of a negative press, when there were numerous success stories from the business side,”

Howard Martin- Co Chairman

“So we thought okay, let’s raise the profile and shout about what’s good about the area.”

The event was initially purely for Keighley, but it was extended to the whole of the Aire Valley two years ago.

“It’s gone from strength to strength,” said Howard. “The past two years have been total sell outs.”

As well as the awards themselves, the evening also includes live music, and the bar remains open afterwards to allow those attending to stay behind and network.

“It was pleasing to see such a large number of people staying behind after the actual awards celebrating their success and networking this year,” he said.

“It’s succeeded beyond what we could have hoped for. It’s doubled in size. We’ve taken the decision to try and make it better every year rather than bigger – we’d struggle to find a venue that would take more people.”

Howard, of Respond Marketing, is co-chair of the committee with Stephen Burles, of Puddle Agency. The committee made up of other business people from the district.

Look North presenter Harry, who has been involved with the awards since their second year, said: “This is one of the very best awards events and a privilege to cover.”

He also paid tribute to the work of Keighley Business Club, which was the headline sponsor for the ceremony.

The prized Overall Business of the Year awarded went to Keighley construction company RN Wooler & Co Ltd, which also took the Small and Medium-sized Business of the Year title.

Since the family firm was founded in 1985 by managing director Norman Wooler, it has grown into a multi-million operation with a directly-employed workforce of around 250.

Other award winners were:

Milner Apprentice Award, sponsored by Keighley Training Consortium: Special Achievement – William Quiney & Russell Parkinson, Best Vocational Skills Development – Carly Richardson, Best Academic Achievement – Rhian Evans, Outstanding Apprentice – Alex Johnson.

Apprentice/Trainee of the Year, sponsored by Keighley College: Winner – Ellie Clare, from WAVE; Special Recognition – Teona Gott, from Crimson Bear. Ellie is business administrator and trainee project manager with WAVE (Wheatlands Aire Valley Engineering), which delivers refrigeration and building services. Tributes to her include “exemplary” integrity, communication and time management.

Independent Trader of the Year, sponsored by Airedale Enterprise Services: Winner – Yoga Wellbeing/Wellbeing Lounge, Special Recognition – Airedale Opticians. Yoga Wellbeing is a small business teaching yoga, meditation and fitness, opened in 2013 by Sarah-Jane Fortune. The Lounge coffee shop and holistic centre opened in 2017. It has become a thriving business.

New Business of the Year, sponsored by Cavendish Business Centre: Winner – Delightful Divas, Special Recognition – Agency for Good. Delightful Divas, a party venue, was opened last August by Rebecca Doyle and Janet Hunter and has gone from strength to strength. It also supports charities through Think Pink open days.

Business Personality of the Year, sponsored by Keighley Town Council: Winner – Jon Broadbent, from Clever Energy Boilers; Special Recognition – Antonio Risidi (Nino), from Hairavanti, and Lance Dentith, from L&S Prints. Jon founded Clever Energy Boilers in Keighley six years ago, and the firm’s growth was described as “exceptional” by judges. He was nominated for the award by staff.

Manufacturing Business of the Year, sponsored by Rotherwood Recruitment: Winner – L&S Prints, Special Recognition – Global Precision. L&S Prints started in Keighley in 1990, printing fabric for clients such as Primark and the NHS. The company then successfully moved into the development and manufacture of personalised fabric products.

Hospitality Business of the Year, sponsored by Airedale Shopping Centre: Winner – Bronte Bars & Events, Special Recognition – Bracken Hall House. Since launching the Haworth Beer Festival eight years ago, Kath Thornton – Bronte Bars and Events’ director – has built the mobile bars and personalised events experience company. A long-standing connection with the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway led to the launch of the hugely-successful Gin Express Experience.

Micro Business of the Year, sponsored by AWB Charlesworth: Winner – Goose Eye Brewery, Special Recognition – Marsh Top Farm. Goose Eye Brewery has been brewing since 1991. Despite the market being fiercely competitive, it has remained independent and family owned and operated. It is now based at Crossflatts.

SME Business of the Year, sponsored by Cosurica: Winner – RN Wooler, Special Recognition – Clever Energy Boilers.

Media Business of the Year, sponsored by Blacks Solicitors: Winner – Distant Future, Special Recognition – PMD Creative Solutions. Launched from a spare bedroom in 2011, Distant Future has grown into a multi-award-winning studio producing 2D and 3D animated content for everyone from small start-ups to major international brands.

Social Enterprise Business of the Year, sponsored by Keighley Social Lights: Winner – Get Out More, Special Recognition – Wave. Keighley-based Get Out More is a social enterprise which aims to help people engage with nature. It runs outdoor programmes­ – including forest schools and outdoor play sessions.

Special Recognition for Services to the Community: Timothy Taylor’s. The brewery was established in the centre of Keighley in 1858.

Set up seven years ago to ensure the many good news stories about Keighley and district businesses were celebrated, the Keighley and Airedale Business Awards has gone from strength to strength.

And the recent 2019 awards at the town’s Victoria Hall clearly demonstrated that, with a sell out audience enjoying a night of entertainment and networking compered by BBC presenter Harry Gration.

Guests at the black-tie event included MP John Grogan, Keighley town mayor Cllr Peter Corkindale, and Bradford Council leader Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe. The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Doreen Lee, officially opened the ceremony.

One of the co-chairman of the awards organising committee, Howard Martin, said negative perceptions of the town and the district had inspired the idea of setting up an awards event.

“The area as a whole didn’t really shout out about its success stories. Keighley and the whole of the Bradford district was getting a bit of a negative press, when there were numerous success stories from the business side,” he said.

“So we thought okay, let’s raise the profile and shout about what’s good about the area.”

The event was initially purely for Keighley, but it was extended to the whole of the Aire Valley two years ago.

“It’s gone from strength to strength,” said Howard. “The past two years have been total sell outs.”

As well as the awards themselves, the evening also includes live music, and the bar remains open afterwards to allow those attending to stay behind and network.

“It was pleasing to see such a large number of people staying behind after the actual awards celebrating their success and networking this year,” he said.

“It’s succeeded beyond what we could have hoped for. It’s doubled in size. We’ve taken the decision to try and make it better every year rather than bigger – we’d struggle to find a venue that would take more people.”

Howard, of Respond Marketing, is co-chair of the committee with Stephen Burles, of Puddle Agency. The committee made up of other business people from the district.

Look North presenter Harry, who has been involved with the awards since their second year, said: “This is one of the very best awards events and a privilege to cover.”

He also paid tribute to the work of Keighley Business Club, which was the headline sponsor for the ceremony.

The prized Overall Business of the Year awarded went to Keighley construction company RN Wooler & Co Ltd, which also took the Small and Medium-sized Business of the Year title.

Since the family firm was founded in 1985 by managing director Norman Wooler, it has grown into a multi-million operation with a directly-employed workforce of around 250.

Other award winners were:

Milner Apprentice Award, sponsored by Keighley Training Consortium: Special Achievement – William Quiney & Russell Parkinson, Best Vocational Skills Development – Carly Richardson, Best Academic Achievement – Rhian Evans, Outstanding Apprentice – Alex Johnson.

Apprentice/Trainee of the Year, sponsored by Keighley College: Winner – Ellie Clare, from WAVE; Special Recognition – Teona Gott, from Crimson Bear. Ellie is business administrator and trainee project manager with WAVE (Wheatlands Aire Valley Engineering), which delivers refrigeration and building services. Tributes to her include “exemplary” integrity, communication and time management.

Independent Trader of the Year, sponsored by Airedale Enterprise Services: Winner – Yoga Wellbeing/Wellbeing Lounge, Special Recognition – Airedale Opticians. Yoga Wellbeing is a small business teaching yoga, meditation and fitness, opened in 2013 by Sarah-Jane Fortune. The Lounge coffee shop and holistic centre opened in 2017. It has become a thriving business.

New Business of the Year, sponsored by Cavendish Business Centre: Winner – Delightful Divas, Special Recognition – Agency for Good. Delightful Divas, a party venue, was opened last August by Rebecca Doyle and Janet Hunter and has gone from strength to strength. It also supports charities through Think Pink open days.

Business Personality of the Year, sponsored by Keighley Town Council: Winner – Jon Broadbent, from Clever Energy Boilers; Special Recognition – Antonio Risidi (Nino), from Hairavanti, and Lance Dentith, from L&S Prints. Jon founded Clever Energy Boilers in Keighley six years ago, and the firm’s growth was described as “exceptional” by judges. He was nominated for the award by staff.

Manufacturing Business of the Year, sponsored by Rotherwood Recruitment: Winner – L&S Prints, Special Recognition – Global Precision. L&S Prints started in Keighley in 1990, printing fabric for clients such as Primark and the NHS. The company then successfully moved into the development and manufacture of personalised fabric products.

Hospitality Business of the Year, sponsored by Airedale Shopping Centre: Winner – Bronte Bars & Events, Special Recognition – Bracken Hall House. Since launching the Haworth Beer Festival eight years ago, Kath Thornton – Bronte Bars and Events’ director – has built the mobile bars and personalised events experience company. A long-standing connection with the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway led to the launch of the hugely-successful Gin Express Experience.

Micro Business of the Year, sponsored by AWB Charlesworth: Winner – Goose Eye Brewery, Special Recognition – Marsh Top Farm. Goose Eye Brewery has been brewing since 1991. Despite the market being fiercely competitive, it has remained independent and family owned and operated. It is now based at Crossflatts.

SME Business of the Year, sponsored by Cosurica: Winner – RN Wooler, Special Recognition – Clever Energy Boilers.

Media Business of the Year, sponsored by Blacks Solicitors: Winner – Distant Future, Special Recognition – PMD Creative Solutions. Launched from a spare bedroom in 2011, Distant Future has grown into a multi-award-winning studio producing 2D and 3D animated content for everyone from small start-ups to major international brands.

Social Enterprise Business of the Year, sponsored by Keighley Social Lights: Winner – Get Out More, Special Recognition – Wave. Keighley-based Get Out More is a social enterprise which aims to help people engage with nature. It runs outdoor programmes­ – including forest schools and outdoor play sessions.

Special Recognition for Services to the Community: Timothy Taylor’s. The brewery was established in the centre of Keighley in 1858.