Innovia Films pulled off an unprecedented double at the CN Group Business Awards last night.

The Wigton firm was named manufacturing business of the year for the second year running.

It was a particularly good night for West Cumbria.

Iggesund Paperboard, of Workington, Chimney Sheep of Maryport, the Lakes Distillery at Setmurthy, near Bassenthwaite, Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake and West House in Workington all picked up awards.

The coveted title of businessperson of the year went to Mark Telford, of Forth Engineering in Flimby.

Around 250 of the county’s movers and shakers attended the dinner and presentation at Carlisle Racecourse.

CN Group, publisher of the Times & Star, stages the annual awards, which celebrate the achievements of Cumbrian businesses and the people behind them.

They are sponsored by Cumbria Business Growth Hub and Rural Growth Network.

Judging took place at the end of August but the results were kept a closely-guarded secret until last night.

Marie Whitehead, director of CN Events, chaired the judging panel.

She said: “Once again the task of judging has been both rewarding and challenging as the quality of entries rises each year.

“It is highly encouraging to see so many businesses investing in their products, their staff and their premises to make sure the business offer in Cumbria remains strong and vibrant.”

Innovia’s win seals an eventful year for the business, which manufactures polypropylene and cellulose film primarily for use in packaging and labelling.

It has invested £40 million at Wigton to boost production of polypropylene film and to build a bank note opacification plant.

Innovia will supply the base material for the Bank of England’s first polymer £5 and £10 notes, which will start to enter circulation next year.

The judges described it as “an exemplar business....a truly global organisation operating to world standards”.

Iggesund won the ‘environmental and energy awareness’ award following a £108m investment, which means its mill is self-sufficient for renewable electricity and thermal energy.

Still on a green theme, Chimney Sheep won the ‘innovation’ category for its ingenious draught excluders for chimneys made from Cumbrian Herdwick wool.

The judges made a one-off ‘highly commended’ award to Sally’s Cottages of Keswick in the ‘customer service’ category, where it was narrowly beaten by Wild River.

Robin Burgess, who is about to retire as chief executive of CN Group, received a lifetime contribution award from Cumbria Chamber of Commerce.

He has overseen a transformation of the 200-year-old firm from being solely a newspaper publisher into a multi-media business with newspapers, magazines, web sites and radio stations operating in Cumbria, Lancashire, Northumberland and south-west Scotland.

The guest speaker was Ellis Watson, chief executive of DC Thomson Publishing and the evening was hosted by former BBC Radio Cumbria presenter Julie Clayton.


Training & Development Award: Livingstone Surface Treatments, Haile, near Egremont

Exporter of the Year: Playdale Playgrounds Ltd, Ulverston

Community Involvement Award: Theatre by the Lake, Keswick

Innovation Award: Chimney Sheep, Maryport

Environmental & Energy Awareness Award: Iggesund Paperboard, Siddick, Workington

Agribusiness of the Year: AWS Power Ltd, Linstock, Carlisle

Tourism & Hospitality Award: The Lakes Distillery Company, Setmurthy

New Business of the Year: World of Ukes, Carlisle

Service Business of the Year: North Associates (Cumbria) Ltd., Carlisle

Manufacturing Business of the Year: Innovia Films, Wigton

Best Use of Digital and/or Social Media: Armstrong Watson, Carlisle

Customer Service Excellence Award: Wild River, Calthwaite, Carlisle Customer Service Excellence Award (highly commended) Sally’s Cottages, Keswick

Rising Star Award: Stephanie Tootill, Playdale Playgrounds Limited, Ulverston

Businessperson of the Year: Mark Telford, Forth Engineering (Cumbria) Ltd, Maryport

Social Enterprise of the Year Award: West House, Workington

Lifetime Contribution to Cumbria:

Robin Burgess, chief executive, CN Group Limited