The best of the district's businesses were recognised at the Wakefield Express Excellence in Business Awards

The most innovative and creative businesses of the district were recognised at the Wakefield Express Excellence in Business Awards.

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 3:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th October 2021, 3:38 pm
Wakefield Express Business Excellence Awards 2021 winners.

Host Harry Gration spoke warmly of those who 'create business, possibilities, incomes for people and ultimately improve the quality of the lives of many people who call Wakefield their home' before welcoming the winners onto the stage at the Theatre Royal Wakefield.

The award for Best Business Transformation went to Gas Fast Limited, a family-owned company which is acknowledged as one of the UK’s leading central heating and boiler installation specialists. The award was for a business that has pivoted in order to better serve the community during lockdown. David Draper from Gas Fast also won Entrepreneur of the Year.

The Best Education Initiative Award, for a company that engages best with educational establishments and programmes was awarded to Long Division CIC, which organises the largest music and culture event in Wakefield.

Wakefield Express Business Excellence Awards 2021. Best New Business of the Year Award. From the left, Host Harry Gration, joint winners Tania Howe from Betty Loves Candles, Lorna Westmorland and Hollie Sharpin (with three-day-old Hudson Everton) from Wild and Wood, and Wakefield Express editor Gavin Murray.

There were two winners in the Best New Business category, Betty Loves Candles, which sells luxury branded candles and is named after the owner’s dog; and Wild & Wood, a vegan skincare range created by two passionate mums who share a love of organic self care. Wild and Wood joint owner Hollie Sharpin's newborn son, Hudson Dallas, became the night's youngest attendee at just three days old when he took to the stage in her arms as she accepted her award.

Theatre Royal Wakefield took the award for Community/Business Hero for putting work from the local community, amateur societies and groups on the stage

Companies that could show commitment to corporate social responsibility and/or green matters were shortlisted for the Company CSR Initiative of the Year award. This was won by The Ridings Shopping Centre. When it opened its doors in 1983 it was a UK first; setting the template for other shopping centres that followed and winning awards.

Wakefield's second shopping Centre Trinity Walk was crowned Leisure Retail Business of the year and was described as one of the must-visit shopping destinations in Yorkshire

Wakefield Express Business Excellence Awards 2021. Employer of the Year Award. From the left, Host Harry Gration with Narinder Gill, Jas Gill, Jess Gaskell and Rose Smith from winner Bluebird Care Wakefield and Kirklees, and Darren Byford from Wakefield First.

The Digital/Technology Development Award was for a company which harnesses technological innovation to give their firm the edge. It was won by One to One Development Trust - an award-winning arts organisation that uses digital media to work with communities to produce innovative and immersive projects. It also won the Outstanding Business of the Year award.

The Large Business of the Year award, for businesses with more than 50 employees who have delivered consistent growth while maintaining a strong balance sheet, went to transport management company 365 Response.

Specialist injection and cast mouldings company Polyglobal Ltd took the award for SME Business of the Year.

One of the warmest receptions of the night was reserved for the winner of the Employer of the Year Award, Bluebird Care Wakefield and Kirklees. On accepting the award Narinder Gill praised the care workers who worked tirelessly through the Covid pandemic. She said: " I'm so proud of our team. We worked every single day, not one care worker sat there and said they were scared about their own health. They put themselves forward during the worst times."

Shortlist and winners in full


•Best Business Transformation

Evoke Media Group Ltd

Gas Fast Limited (winners)

Slink Staffing


•Best Education Initiative Award - sponsored by Wakefield College

Long Division (Winners)

Rainbow Playrooms

One to One development

Wakefield Theatre Royal

Best New business

Betty loves Candles (joint winners)

Wild & Wood. (joint winners)


Cupalicious cakes

•Community/Business Hero

Theatre Royal Wakefield (winners)

Wakefield First

•CompanyCSR Initiative of the Year

Caffe noor

Junction 32 Yorkshire Outlet Shopping

The Ridings Shopping Centre (winners)

•Digital/Technology Development Award

365 Response

David Draper Gas Fast Limited

One to One Development Trust (winners)

•Employer of the year - sponsored by Wakefield First

Bluebird Wakefield and Kirklees (winners)

Conservatory Outlet

Gas Fast Limited

•Entrepreneur of the Year - sponsored by Haribo

Cheryl Lockwood

David Draper Gas Fast Limited (winners)

Munir Mamujee M2R

•Large business of the year

365 Response (winner)

•Leisure retail Business of the year


OL Horbury

Trinity Walk Shopping Centre (winners)

•SME Business of the Year

Muffle One to One development Trust

Polyglobal Lyd (winners)

Revalued CIC

•Outstanding Business of the Year - sponsored by Wakefield College

One to One Delevopment Trust