PICTURE GALLERY - Companies prove they are the business at annual awards

TOP-CLASS performances in tourism, training and education were among the many achievements celebrated at the town’s biggest business awards ceremony.

And one finalist landed a rather special double when it hosted the glittering event and then galloped away with a top title.

Doncaster Racecourse was named Business of the Year 2011 (more than £3m turnover) at the Doncaster Chamber Business Awards after welcoming hundreds of guests to the black-tie occasion, once again demonstrating its flair for functions.

The accolade marks the end of another successful year for the Town Moor venue which has increasingly attracted major events and strengthened its reputation as a top conference and exhibition centre.

Just a few weeks ago, it entertained almost 1,000 guests at the White Rose Tourism Awards and also offers a varied programme of entertainment alongside its regular horse-racing fixtures.

Managing director Mark Spincer said the award was a testament to the hard work of the venue’s team and its partners during a hugely successful year.

And there were double delights for two other finalists. Doncaster Wildlife Park was named Business of the Year (less than £3m turnover) and also picked up a Special Achievement award for its innovative attractions which continue to draw growing numbers of visitors from miles around.

Bawtry’s Crown Hotel received awards for both its marketing strategy and partnership working after a year which has seen considerable investment in the long-established business.

Recognised for his `drive and conviction’ was Tony Sykes who scooped the Entrepreneur of the Year title. His company, Monochrome Business Solutions LLP, has developed a training brand aimed at passenger vehicle drivers which judges said was `game changing in the transport training sector’ and predicted a bright future for the venture.

And it was a special night of celebration for businessman Terry Bramall who received the Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement award.

The former head of Bramall Construction has played a significant part in local business and community life for decades. As well as running a leading social housing company he was vice chairman of the Dearne Valley Partnership for ten years, chairman of the Doncaster Regeneration Partnership for eight years and is currently a director of Doncaster Rovers Football Club.

There was also high praise for other commercial success stories in areas including customer service partnership working and exports after judges scrutinised scores of top quality entries to make their final decisions.

Around 550 people attended the event which was sponsored by Mode magazine with BBC TV’s Harry Gration presenting the prizes.

Chamber chief executive Howard Gannaway said the awards had celebrated the very best of Doncaster business.

“As CEO of Doncaster Chamber, I find myself in the fortunate position of meeting a great variety of our town’s businesses; they come in all shapes and sizes but with one key theme running through their core - a sheer determination to succeed and grow,” he said. “I am proud that, each year, this is reflected in the exceptionally high standard of award entries.”

A Doncaster Chamber Business Awards picture special, including full results, can be found in December 22 edition of the Doncaster Free Press.