THE VERY best of Stratford was once again celebrated at the Pride of Stratford Awards.
The Touch FM annual awards, held at the Crown Plaza hotel, highlighted the individuals and businesses who make the district a special place.
MP Nadhim Zahawi drew attention to the area’s independent businesses and the district having the lowest unemployment in the country.
He also spoke of two landmark political events in 2016 – the Brexit vote and that of the American Presidency – saying: “We thought it had peaked with that most historic of votes here in the UK in June last year, but nothing could have prepared us for what happened across the pond in the USA in November.
“So much so, that a constituent took it upon himself to advise me to change the caption on my Twitter account to ‘Make Stratford Great Again’ I politely declined, mainly because I think Stratford happens to be great already.”
Touch FM chief executive Steve Orchard said the evening was a celebration of the all those nominated.
He added: “Being selected as a finalist means you are part of an elite cohort – the number and quality of entries was up again this year – and to get this far means you have achieved outstanding results in your nominated field.
“Someone has to win in each category and there are often close calls. What it sometimes come down to is why now why this year for this company or person.”
Arts Organisation of the Year:
Winner – The Phoenix Players. Also nominated – In 2 Cultures and Stratford Musical Theatre
Tourism Initiative of the Year:
Winner – Shakespeare’s Celebrations 2016. Also nominated – Shakespeare’s New Place, Stratford Butterfly Farm and Stratford River Festival
Customer Care Award:
Winner – Stratford Town Hosts. Also nominated – The Charlecote Pheasant and The One Elm
Team of the Year:
Winner – The RSC. Also nominated – The One Elm and Shakespeare’s New Place Staff & Volunteers.
Hospitality Business of the Year:
Winner – Ragley Hall, Park and Gardens. Also nominated – The Charlecote Pheasant and Macdonald Alveston Manor Hotel
Town Centre Business of the Year:
Winner – The Dirty Duck
Also nominated – A Fine Tattoo Establishment, Gemini and Hooray’s British Gelato Kitchen
Winner – Hooray’s British Gelato Kitchen. Also nominated – The Nut Roastery, The Sugar Shaper and Sweet Boutique
Business Person of the Year:
Winner – Blake Beckford and Ian Hancock. Also nominated – Claire Wright, Maria Clack and Mike Roberts
Small Business of the Year:
Winner – Take Flight Aviation Ltd. Also nominated – The MAD Museum and Marcus Roofing
Business of the Year:
Winner – Gemini. Also nominated – Alderminster Group and Miromedia Ltd
Educator of the Year:
Winner – In 2 Cultures. Also nominated – David Cobley, Stratford Music Centre and Welcombe Hills School
Carer of the Year:
Winner – Katie Berry. Also nominated – Ben Russell and Victoria Dom Care
Young Achiever of the Year Award:
Winner – Max Willson. The judges felt Max had really found his niche in photography and film making despite living with asperger’s. Also nominated – Jack Sumners and Katie Cummings
Citizen of the Year:
Winner – Sophie Mansfield. Her drive and enthusiam warmed judges as well as her dedication to help improve the lives of others on a voluntary basis through Sunny Side Up. Also nominated – Chris Ricketts. Jackie Grey and Roger Edmunds
Pride of Stratford Award:
Winner – Sarah Summers. Judges all agreed the passion, vision and determination demonstrated by Sarah during Shakespeare’s Celebrations should be commended. Also nominated – Dan MacDonald, Jen MacDonald and Nic Allen for ‘A Night at The Big Top’ and Roger Edmunds
Pride of Stratford Special Awards were also presented to RSC artistic director Gregory Doran, the Stratford Cancer and Eye Hospital Appeal and Olympic gold medalist Nick Skelton.
Images courtesy of Jamie Gray