A HOST of Dorset professionals have been recognised with major awards.

Allan Cruse, partner in the financial advice firm Strategic Solutions, was named Later Life and Retirement Adviser at the Year by the Personal Finance Society.

The awards were hosted by Gyles Brandreth at the Camden Roundhouse.

The recognition came two months after Branksome-based Strategic Solutions became the only firm to win the Moneyfacts Investment Adviser of the Year award twice – and was then named one of the UK’s top 100 financial firms by Citywire.

Mr Cruse, immediate past president of the local branch of the Chartered Insurance Institute, said: “At Strategic Solutions, our advice process is central to our proposition and the way we look after our clients and their money. I feel extremely proud to be recognised by the expert judges and I will continue to work hard to help our clients.”

Meanwhile, Christchurch solicitor Peter Watson-Lee took the national title Family Law Partner of the Year.

Mr Watson-Lee, chairman and family partner at Williams Thompson Solicitors, was given the trophy at the Family Law Awards at London’s Southbank.

He said: “The competition for the Family Law Partner of the Year Award is so strong. To win this award is a huge achievement and one of the high points of my career.

"It is a great distinction for any solicitor from a small firm to be selected as winner and I believe it reflects the high reputation that we have for family law.”

As well as acting as a divorce and family law solicitor for more than 30 years, Mr Watson-Lee has been responsible for a series of publications and advised a TV soap on family law.

Wimborne-based Teachers Building Society won the Mortgage Finance Gazette Best Use of Technology – Lenders Award.

It took the national honour for its new broker mortgage application portal, developed by Teachers with Bournemouth-based digital agency Appius.

Jo Clarke, head of marketing, said: “Feedback from those who have used it has been very positive, with some describing it as the fastest and easiest to use in the market."

Poole accountancy firm Inspire was named Company Star of the Year at the Rock Star Awards, held by Rock Recruitment at the O2 Academy in Boscombe.

The title is awarded to a firm with fewer than 50 employees which can demonstrate it is hiring, training and nurturing young people.

Inspire director Chris Downing said; “It is great to get recognition for training and developing our young people; therefore I am really proud to have received this award.”