Awards season gets underway as
Royal Hall gears up for the big night

Happy winners show off their awards at last years Harrogate Advertiser Business Awards ceremony. (1604142AM30)
Happy winners show off their awards at last years Harrogate Advertiser Business Awards ceremony. (1604142AM30)

Dig out your dancing shoes and start booking taxis – awards season is coming!

The nomination phase for the Harrogate Advertiser Business Awards is already well underway, and there is just one month to go before the deadline for entries falls.

The magnificent Royal Hall is one of the finest Edwardian theatres in the North.

The magnificent Royal Hall is one of the finest Edwardian theatres in the North.

An extra incentive to enter this year comes in the form of the Royal Hall, which will host the event for the very first time.

Comprehensively restored – complete with 76,000 squares of 23-carat gold leaf – at a cost of £10.7m and reopened in 2008 by Prince Charles, it is considered one of the finest Edwardian thatres in the North.

“People think of it as a theatre, but when you have a banquet in there it really shows the versatility of the building,” says Andy Lane, front-of-house manager for all the Harrogate International Centre venues.

“It seats 976 people for a normal show, but for events like this we take out all seven-and-a-quarter tonnes of seating by hand and put it back again afterwards, which takes a total of five hours.

“It can then hold around 300 people, and it’s a lovely setting because you’re sat in the middle of the theatre with everything going on around you. It really feels special.”

This is where the 12th Harrogate Advertiser Business Awards ceremony – a black-tie event with dinner and entertainment – will take place on Thursday, April 27.

“I always really forward to it,” says Jean MacQuarrie, editor of the Harrogate Advertiser series.

“It’s an exciting evening because of all the tension before the winners are announced – it means a lot to the nominees – but it’s also inspiring.

“We cover an area of over 500 square miles, which is home to thousands of businesses, from sole traders to listed multinationals. So many of them do fantastic work and thoroughly deserve recognition. These awards are a way to do that, to say ‘you’ve claimed your place among the very best our region has to offer – well done’.”

One person who knows just how that feels is Zara Jackson, managing director of Harrogate-based recruitment firm Network Scientific, which won the Best Small Business award last year.

“It goes along way towards reinforcing the credibility of your business,” she says.

“We’ve been putting ‘Business Awards winner’ on all our job adverts since we won and we’ve been getting a lot more response. People are prepared to travel to see us far more than they used to be.

“There are a lot of small businesses out there and winning a Harrogate Advertiser Business Award really helps to differentiate you from the competition.”

The awards’ main sponsor is Harrogate and Pateley Bridge estate agent Verity Frearson. Each award also has its own sponsor.

There are 10 categories:

l Best Rural Business

l Tourism Award

l Family-Run Business of the Year

l Employer of the Year

l Best Small Company (1 to 10 employees)

l Best Medium Company (11 to 50 employees)

l Best Large Company (over 50 employees)

l Best Company Website

l Business Personality of the Year

l Lifetime Achievement

Businesses may enter as many categories as they like, and the deadline for entries is noon on Monday, March 13.

To enter, just go to www.
harrogatebusinessawards.co.uk