THE elite of the Vale Royal business community gathered at the Macdonald Portal Hotel in Tarporley to recognise a year of achievements.

Companies from across mid Cheshire were invited to the annual Vale Royal Business Awards – organised by the Northwich Guardian – and enjoyed a meal and some inspiring talks before the winners were announced.

Business of the Year went to Holland Damp Proofing, based at Aston by Budworth, for its innovative and eco-friendly way of curing damp without plastering.

Director Evert De Graff said: “I am really pleased and chuffed. I built this business up from scratch.

“Every year it has grown with a steady 40 per cent profit.”

Business Person of the Year was awarded to Frank Melling, of the Thundersprint, for his unswerving determination to transform Northwich town centre into the venue for a world class motorsport event.

Seven years ago, he overlooked the town on a cold, dark January evening and saw his dream – and today thousands of fans and celebrities regularly flock to the town for the annual attraction.