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Thursday, 24 April 2014

CN Group Business Awards 2011

ONE of Cumbria’s most highly-respected business leaders has said he was “overwhelmed and delighted” after receiving a lifetime contribution award.

Around 250 people donned bow ties and glittering ball gowns to attend the CN Group Business Awards 2011 in Penrith.

The annual awards saw scores of entries across 16 categories, which ranged from employee of the year to innovation in energy.

The top gong of the night was the Lifetime Contribution to Cumbria award, which was presented to retiring chief executive of Furness Building Society, Rob Cairns.

Flanked by his partner Lesley and his two daughters, Rebecca Ash and Abby Barrett, Mr Cairns smiled with pride as the presenter of the evening, ITV’s Helen Pearson, described him as one of the most successful building society chief executives in the country. The presenter said: “He has had a significant and positive impact on the Cumbrian business community over a long period of time.

“He is passionate and committed to the local community and, as his citation, states: ‘Rob leaves the industry with his head held high; how many financial services chief executives who have retired in the last five years can say that?’”

Mr Cairns, who retires next week has been chief executive of the Furness for 14 years, and prior to that was deputy chief executive of the Cumberland Building Society for 14 years.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted, I feel quite overwhelmed; it’s a brilliant end to my career and I owe it to the team at Furness Building Society.”

A number of people spoke to Mr Cairns on the night of their sadness after hearing the news of the death of the building society’s general marketing manager, Ian Bell. Mr Bell died, aged 52, earlier this month after suffering a heart attack.

Mr Cairns said at the business awards on Thursday: “I just wish I could have shared this award with Ian, who was always so community-spirited.”

The community involvement award, sponsored by Nuclear Management Partnerships, gave recognition to another Furness firm; Ulverston-based Forge Europa.

Managing director Peter Barton said: “We were absolutely delighted to pick up the Community Involvement Award.

“We obviously have a broad range of programmes that we support, but of particular note in 2010 was the Cumbria Way cycle ride. The great thing about this event was the way in which it caught the imagination of suppliers, customers, business contacts, friends and family and the very generous local church community. I do believe that these kind of fundraising events can serve as an effective team building model that has huge benefits to the wider community beyond the individual companies concerned.”

The guest speaker at the awards was James Timpson, managing director of the key-cutting and shoe repair retailer, who raised a few eyebrows during his speech by encouraging shoppers to barter in his retail outlets. He also controversially described how he would have a word “at the back door” with any employees who didn’t fit into the company’s ethos.

The third South Cumbrian winner of the night was South Lakes Hotels, which scooped the Best Business Website award, sponsored by Ast Marketing and PR.

Owner Jonathan Denby said the evening was excellent and praised the team behind his website.

He said: “The credit for the website has to go to Cypher Digital from Milnthorpe, who developed it. We were so delighted with the work that they did; the images really jump out from the page. We’re getting so many visits to the site now and it’s obviously having a massive impact and we are right up there on the first page of Google.”

Mr Denby also wanted to pay tribute to Tracey Cragg, South Lakes Hotels’ marketing manager, who led the re-launch of the website.

Others who attended included Harry Knowles and Stuart Klosinski from Furness Enterprise.

Mr Klosinski said: “We were delighted with Forge Europa’s win and it’s excellent that CN Group are there championing the contribution that businesses make to Cumbria and making the county what it is – a hotbed of manufacturing, innovation and small business activity.”

Have your say

An honourable mention must go to MH Irving wheelchair fixers.

They are a fine company that provide a lasting and excellent service to those less fortunate in our society!!

Keep up the good work guys!!

Posted by Rupert McDonald on 21 October 2011 at 12:49

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