Entrepreneurial icon is presented with lifetime achievement award

Entrepreneurial icon is presented with lifetime achievement award

23th September 2013


ENTREPRENEURS honoured an icon of North East business and the next generation of enterprising business owners at a prestigious awards ceremony.

Sir Peter Vardy received a standing ovation from the 300 guests gathered for the Entrepreneurs’ Forum annual awards as he was recognised for Lifetime Achievement.

One of the founders and now an honorary ambassador of the Forum, Sir Peter was chosen for making a significant contribution to business in the North East, for creating thousands of jobs and putting the region on the map.

He took over the motor retail business started by his father, Reg Vardy, in 1982 and built it into one of Europe’s biggest and most profitable with a turnover of £2bn and employing 6,000 people across the UK.

Event host Steve Cram MBE, who added his personal congratulations, said Sir Peter had done much more besides including sponsoring four high performing schools in the North of England and giving millions to support healthcare and education in Africa and India.

His latest projects include supporting men coming out of prison and Safe Families for Children, a pioneering initiative that provides a lifeline for North East families in crisis that is being rolled out nationally and internationally.

On being presented with his trophy by Colin McClymont, managing director of award sponsor The Pen Shop, Sir Peter said he was “deeply honoured”.
“I have had an interesting and challenging life and enjoyed every minute of it,” he said.

“The car business was fabulous, we had a great time and built an amazing company. After my father died I was alone in business so I valued the Entrepreneurs’ Forum because it was a team of people who offered support.

“Now I’m turning my attention to helping those who are less fortunate and the most challenged in society.

“As entrepreneurs we get lots of opportunities and I would encourage you to grasp them with both hands. It’s amazing, even from humble beginnings, the things you can achieve.”

The evening also recognised the Entrepreneurs’ Forum Entrepreneur of the Year, which went to Jeff Winn, co-founder of Winns Solicitors.

Jeff was was a partner in a legal aid practice for ten years before setting up Byker-based Winns, whose services are a one-stop- shop for road traffic accident victims.

Receiving his award from sponsor Paul Currie, of The Lakes Distillery Company, he thanked his partner Danielle Dunn for nominating him and all the staff at Winns.

The Emerging Talent award for 2013, sponsored by NBS, went to Rob Mathieson, of AYO Digital, a Gateshead-based supplier of web-based software systems to customers including Renault, Hyundai and Gentoo Group.

Thanking his wife and the 25-strong team at AYO, Rob said: “Everybody works so hard every single day and if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here.”

Louise McAlpine, of Thornaby-based Innov8 Disposal, was a runner-up.

The event also saw the official presentation of prize packages worth £17,000 in investment, mentoring and practical support to the winners of the Forum’s If We Can You Can Challenge 2013, Tom Riley and Matthew Lloyd, of Whitewash Laboratories; Casey Lam, of TopHat Teacakes, and Dom Hodgson, of Pack Leader Dog Adventures.

News in September