The winners of the 10th annual Northumberland Business Awards were announced last night at a special ceremony.
The black-tie dinner, hosted by Linden Hall and compered by BBC Radio Newcastle's Alfie Joey, was a real celebration of the strength and depth of the county's very diverse business community.
As well as the well-deserved winners in 12 categories (see the full list below), the night saw a Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Sir John Hall, the North Seaton, Ashington-born lad who rose from humble beginnings to mastermind the development of the largest shopping centre in Europe and reinvigorate Newcastle United.
Greeted by a standing ovation, the 84-year-old said: "Receiving this award has made me a very, very proud Northumbrian. You never lose your background, I've lived in Teesside for many years, but it was never my home."
And in a call to arms to the county's businesses, he added: "I'm an old man now and the area hasn't changed as much as I would like it to. You can't live in the past - if Northumberland and the North East lives in the past, it will die in the past. It's up to businesses to lead it into the future."
The event was sponsored by Northumberland County Council, Northumberland College, Northumbrian Water, Allingtons Kia, Excel North East Ltd, UK Asl and Macdonald Hotels, owner of ceremony venue Linden Hall.
The awards are organised by Northeast Press, publishers of the Northumberland Gazette, Morpeth Herald and News Post Leader, and Tweeddale Press, publisher of the Berwick Advertiser, and there will be full coverage of the winners and the night in next Thursday's papers.
Here's the full shortlist from the awards, with the winners in bold:
Small Business of the Year (under 10 employees): Trainbase Ltd; Ina Spratt BSC HCP - highly commended; Bex Boutique; Powder Room Spa & Beauty; Fusion PR.
Large Business of the Year (11-plus employees): George F White; Northumbrian Water; Newcastle Airport; Port of Blyth; Smailes Construction Ltd; Tharsus Group - highly commended.
Employer of the Year: George F White; Coquet Cottages Ltd; Banks Group; Tharsus Group.
Apprentice/Trainee of the Year: Laurie Murray, Amble Pin Cushion; Jack Thomas, Tharsus Group; Rebecca Henry, Tharsus Group; Connor Little, Universal Wolf; Jack Sams, Smailes Construction - highly commended; Stephen Jones, Smailes Construction.
Innovation Award: Dockside Gallery; Pharma Nord; Bazaar Group.
New Business (under two years): Trainbase; Mrs O’s Caring Hands; The Unit Health & Fitness.
Best Green Business Award: AkzoNobel; Coastline.
Tourism Business Award: Border Holiday Homes; Doxford Barns; Coquet Cottages; The Black Bull Hotel; Mains Cottages; The Coach House.
Creative Industries Award: Emma Rothera Photography; Elements shop; Rainbow Pottery Painting; Visual Punch.
Leisure Award: Kielder Waterside/Northumbrian Water; Whitehouse Farm; Smile Through Sport CIC.
Sole Trader of the Year: Carly Richards – The Business Psychology Expert; Emma Bunting; Olly Dial Elite Fitness.
Special Recognition Award: G&P Healthcare Ltd.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Sir John Hall.