Doncaster’s Yorkshire Wildlife Park in ‘best of the best’ award win

Sir Gary Verity, Richard Caborn and James Mitchinson
Sir Gary Verity, Richard Caborn and James Mitchinson

Doncaster-based Yorkshire Wildlife Park took home the top prize at a prestigious awards ceremony to honour the “best of the best.”

The popular visitor attraction was named ‘Business of the Year’ at the City Region Business Awards at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge International Sports Centre last Thursday.

John Minion, chief executive officer of the park, said staff were delighted with the ‘champion of champions’ award.

He said: “We are delighted and honoured to receive the award which is a testimony to the hard work and dedication of all our staff. We are focussed on making sure our visitors have a fantastic experience at YWP and we put a lot of effort into every detail so it is great to have this recognition.”

In addition, Rotherham-based computer software developer S3ID took home the Export Award, Barnsley College won the CSR/Environment Award and Rotherham-based gift shop Patchwork Pig was named best in the category for retail, leisure and tourism.

Barnsley-based electronics firm Osborne Technologies won the Design & Innovation Award and Tom Matthews, apprentice at Tata Steel - based near Rawmarsh - won the award in the skills, apprentice and training category.

The accolade came after the innovative park enjoyed a year of record visitors and acclaimed conservation work for rare species.

Hundreds of people attended the black tie event including heads of Chambers of Commerce, industry leaders and senior figures from headline sponsors Learning Unlimited, part of the Chesterfield Group.

Sir Gary Verity, boss of Welcome to Yorkshire, which helped to deliver the Yorkshire leg of the Tour de France last year, was the guest speaker.

It was the third year of the awards, which pull together winners from the Doncaster, Sheffield, Barnsley & Rotherham and East Midlands Chambers as well as in Derbyshire.

The judges included formers sports minister and business champion Richard Caborn and a senior figure from each of the four chambers.

James Mitchinson, editorial director of the South Yorkshire Times, told guests: “I congratulate you for even being in the room tonight.

“I’ve seen first-hand the work ethic that the good people of South Yorkshire pride themselves upon, and which you demand of others. That you demand of me as guardian of your newspaper.

“Thank you to the judges, who had the unenviable task of selecting the winners. More than anything this should be a night where you say thank you to your teams. Without them, your businesses would not be what they are today.”