THE cream of the New Forest’s 9,000 businesses were rewarded with trophies.

More than 150 people gathered for the 14th New Forest Brilliance in Business Awards at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.

Matthew Lawson, chairman of the New Forest Business Partnership, welcomed New Forest businesses, decision-makers and sponsors to celebrate the success of the 30 finalists.

He said: “This very special event, at an exciting new venue, is all about celebrating the stories and successes of the 9,000 businesses in the New Forest.

“With a record number of entries this year, I congratulate everyone who was nominated and shortlisted and especially our winners, together with those that help them start, run, grow and succeed. This evening, we celebrate together and we will all be inspired, encouraged and informed by the successes of our impressive finalists.”

Ten businesses won awards, with Brockenhurst’s Balmer Lawn Hotel taking both the New Forest Business of the Year award and the Training and Development award. The hotel demonstrated ambitious growth plans whilst recognising the value of developing and nurturing staff talent to achieve this.

Michael Clitheroe, general manager of the Balmer Lawn Hotel, said: “The hotel has undergone a huge transformation over the last five years both as a local and regional business and fantastic industry leading employer. I’m very proud to receive this award in recognition of an incredible team’s achievement.”

Matt Callaghan, economic development manager at New Forest District Council, said: “These awards demonstrate that there is so much to celebrate and be positive about doing business here in the New Forest. We have seen that the district is home to businesses and individuals leading the way nationally and internationally in their individual fields.”

The choice of the National Motor Museum as the awards’ new venue this year allowed for a larger event with more guests and two new awards.

Guests enjoyed a networking supper among the museum’s exhibits, following the presentation of awards in the John Montagu Theatre Building.

Winners were as follows.

49 Award for Entrepreneurship: Tim Wookey, Amamus Coffee.

Eric Robinson Award for Young Person in Business: Jeremy Whitworth, Montagu Arms Hotel, Beaulieu.

ExxonMobil Award for Innovation: Giftpro, Lymington.

Go New Forest Award for Visitor Economy: Lighthouse Marketing.

Hampshire County Council Award for Contribution to the New Forest Community: The Gourmet Grocer, Fordingbridge.

New Forest District Council Award for Customer Care: Clearview Aerials, East Wellow.

New Forest Enterprise Centre Award for Best New Business: Home of Interiors, Brockenhurst.

New Forest Marque Award for Food and Drink: New Forest Hampers, Milford-on-Sea.

New Forest National Park Award for Contribution to the National Park: New Forest Aromatics, Brockenhurst.

Totton College Award for Training and Development: Balmer Lawn Hotel, Brockenhurst.

NFBP Business of the Year sponsored by Solent Local Enterprise Partnership: Balmer Lawn Hotel, Brockenhurst.

The New Forest Business Partnership, which organised the awards, was established to improve relations between commercial organisations and local government, to promote better business-to-business relationships, to build a stronger economy and to bring prosperity.