GALLERY: ALS Food and Pharmaceutical wins Business of the Year crown at 2014 Fenland Enterprise Business Awards

FEBA, 2014. Picture: Steve Williams.

FEBA, 2014. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

One of the country’s leading providers of analytical testing services was the cream of Fenland after being declared the overall winner of the 2014 Fenland Enterprise Business Awards.

FEBA, 2014. Picture: Steve Williams.

FEBA, 2014. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

ALS Food and Pharmaceutical walked away with the Business of the Year award for its industry-leading technical expertise, impressive growth and commitment to environmentally-friendly technologies.

It also won the Green Award and the Medium Business of the Year Award.

Among the company’s efforts praised by the judges was its expansion of allergen tests for testing meat species following the national horse meat scandal last year.

The award judges said of our winner: “The team at ALS delivered a very professional and convincing case, admirably demonstrating that the business is financially sound and has grown and adapted to a changing market place.

FEBA, 2014. Picture: Steve Williams.

FEBA, 2014. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant


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“In particular it extended its range of allergen tests for meat speciation testing – a key development following the horse meat crisis in 2013 and developed an industry leading web based portal ensuring ALS is well positioned in a competitive, high tech market.

“Adopting a range of initiatives including heat recovery, large scale rain water harvesting and waste streaming, ALS provided a strong case by demonstrating a measured commitment to environmental awareness using available technology to the benefit of the business and carbon reduction.”

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With 30 years of experience, ALS carries out a wide variety of microbiological, chemical and nutritional testing from its network of UKAS-accredited laboratories across the UK, the largest of which is based in Chatteris.

A capacity audience gathered at the Braza, in March, for this year’s awards, run in association with Fenland District Council and supported by the College of West Anglia, Foster Property Developments, Fenland Chamber of Commerce, Foster Renewable Energies, Judds Coaches, the Larkfleet Group, Leeds Day Solicitors, Local Generation, NWES and Whiting & Partners.

Guests at the black tie event included finalists, business leaders, council dignitaries, award sponsors and our judging panel, which consisted of independent business leaders and award sponsors.

A champagne reception was followed by a three-course meal and the awards hosted by Paul Stainton, of BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

Mr Stainton told guests: “We would not have been able to put on these awards without the support of our sponsors. They deserve a lot of thanks.

“With their help we are able to reward best practice within Fenland, as well as increasing public awareness of the professionalism and importance of our business community to the region.

“Our judges were extremely impressed with the quality of all the applications and want to thank everyone who took the time to enter.”

SPECIAL RECOGNITION FOR FARMER GEORGE MUNNS

Another person to receive praise was farmer George Munns, whose passion for Fenland, farming and wildlife makes him “a rare breed among us”, according to the judges.

Mr Munns’ company L & AE Munns & Son won the Judges Award, which is presented to a company or individual who didn’t win one of the award categories but, in the judges’ opinion, deserved special recognition.

Earlier this year, Mr Munns was instrumental in rounding up support across Fenland to send more than 200 tonnes of sugar beet to Somerset to help feed livestock threatened by devastating floods.

Mr Munns looks after Westmoor Farm, Chatteris, where his family have farmed since 1959 when his parents Alice and Lionel took on a 21-acre smallholding and an old farmhouse.

The judges said: “On visiting George Munns the judges were greeted with a local passionate farmer who has not only continually diversified to provide produce for bespoke markets such as goose fat, honey and pressed rape seed oil, but has also created a reed pond.

“The judges were informed that the pond had been established to proved a natural habitat for a variety of plants and animals including wild birds, some of which are rarely seen in other parts of the district.

“George was enthralling as he spoke about the reed pond and its many attributes.

“Added to the fact that George was instrumental in supporting Somerset farmers who were badly affected by the floods in February by sending fodder and supplies, uniting our Fenland network, it is felt that he himself is a rare breed amongst us.”

RYAN WINS APPRENTICE AWARD

The Apprentice of the Year award went to Ryan Wilson, of Stainless Metalcraft, Chatteris, who was described as “an apprentice that all of Fenland should be proud of”.

The award is sponsored by Fenland District Council in memory of Craig Bird, of March, an apprentice at Metalcraft in Chatteris, who was killed in a road collision four years ago. The award was presented by Craig’s parents Richard and Kim Bird.

Ryan completed his level two apprenticeship in 2012 and then passed his BTEC level three at the College of West Anglia, achieving a distinction in every unit. Metalcraft is also helping Ryan move on to further training.

The judges praised all of this year’s finalists, saying: “In a day and age where young people attract too many negative headlines, and the stereotypical teenager doesn’t tend to be recognised for their hard work, the judges found all of the finalists in the category very inspirational and worthy winners.

“They really did have a tough decision to make.”

Of Ryan, they said: “His dedication to his work, the business and his own progression made him the winner.

“The respect he commands from his colleagues, the extremely high marks he has gained in his qualifications, the efficiencies he has identified in the business and his genuine desire to make a worthy contribution to the company, even to the point of offering to fund thousands of pounds worth of further education himself makes him an apprentice that all of Fenland should be proud of.”

WISBECH IS THE PRIDE OF FENLAND

The Capital of the Fens is now also the Pride of Fenland after Wisbech took home the prize that recognises which town has the greatest entrepreneurial spirit.

Wisbech’s success came after readers of the Cambs Times and Wisbech Standard submitted their nominations, outlining how their town stands out above the rest by shrugging off the trend of internet shopping and promoting events and business success.

All of the nominations and comments were then considered by our award judges.

One nomination, by David Crouch, said: “I would like to vote for Wisbech for the new businesses large and small that are cropping up all over and for the initiative by many organisations, with Fenland District Council, for the regeneration of High Street.

“The support for Centenary Green and Wisbech General Cemetery by local businesses is also most commendable.”

Another nomination said: “Wisbech in Bloom and the councils have done some sterling work this year with flowers and events.”

It was the fourth year that the Pride of Fenland award was presented. It had been won by Whittlesey for the previous three years.

• Friday’s Cambs Times and Wisbech Standard will include a special feature celebrating this year’s awards.

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