April 29th 2021 saw the 4th annual Thames Valley and South West Business & Community Awards, with over 2,000 nominations across 26 different awards categories and more than 400 businesses attending the celebration.
After a brief foreword by Alec Jones-Hall, the director of Great British Expos, attendees were delighted by entertainment in the form of Mark ‘Sparky’ Harding and Anne ‘Sprite’ Jeffery-Harding, who sang classics from the likes of Elvis, The Beatles and ABBA. Alec – along with Tina Fincham, who works for Aspen Waite – then introduced the hosts of the event: Paul Waite (Chief Executive of Aspen Waite) and Natalie Gayle (DJ at Aspen Waite Radio, and Sky Arts presenter). The twitter hashtag for the evening was #swtvawards.
Between the announcements, attendees were also treated to an amazing and inspiring speech by keynote speaker Dame Stephanie ‘Steve’ Shirley, who spoke about her experiences in business throughout her life, the reservations that people had about her work and her ideas, and how she “learned not to bash my way through obstacles, but to find another way around.” After she ‘retired’ from the business that she had set up in 1962, which is valued at around $3 billion and made 70 employees millionaires, Dame Steve is now focused on supporting strategic projects in the fields of autism, supporting non-profit organisations such as Autism At Kingwood and Prior’s Court, as well as Autistica, which she set up in honour of her late son Giles.
For more information about this inspiring woman, visit https://www.steveshirley.com
All of the winners from the awards ceremony can be found at the links below:
The evening was rounded off by a wonderful performance by Kate Brown, who sang a series of well-known classic and modern pop tunes to get everyone dancing.
[by Abigail King]