ASTOUNDING enterprises celebrated in style at last night’s Westmorland Gazette Business and Tourism Awards.

Companies from across the area were honoured in 11 categories in front of more than 200 guests watched at a glittering ceremony at Kendal’s Castle Green Hotel.

The most prestigious accolade went to Marl International, who fought off fierce competition from companies across South Cumbria, North Lancashire and the Dales to be crowned the Business of the Year.

The firm’s commercial director David Ford was cheered by scores of business owners, directors and staff as he picked up the night’s top award under the dazzling spotlights.

It was the second gong of the evening for the Ulverston company, which scooped The Westmorland Gazette’s Innovation and Technology Award in recognition of dynamic developments in an industry they helped develop from its infancy.

The other two companies shortlisted for the Business of the Year Award didn't go away empty-handed, however.

Fast-growing meat specialists Lakes Speciality Foods, in Staveley, scooped the Small Business of the Year Award.

Meanwhile, subsea component manufacturers Expro Connectors and Measurements, based in Ulverston, won the Training and Development Award.

The Place to Stay Award was won by Long Valley Yurts and the Hotel of the Year Award by Holbeck Ghyll and Country House Hotel.

The Team of the Year Award was scooped by Kendal Register Office; the Social and Community Development Award was by Kendal Judo Club.

The Green Award was scooped by The Glen Rothay Hotel and Badger Bar.

The Retailer of the Year Award was won by Age UK South Lakeland and the Tourist Attraction and Tour Operator Award was scooped by Mountain Goat Tours and Holidays.

Guests were entertained by 1985 World Championship snooker champion Dennis Taylor while North West Tonight presenter Dianne Oxberry was the host.

The awards were supported by United Utilities and sponsored by Kendal College, Gilkes, CLB Coopers, Furness Building Society, Armstrong Watson and Natwest.

Don’t miss next week’s Westmorland Gazette newspaper, which will include a supplement revealing the winners and packed with photographs and stories from the night.