Fylde coast awards entries show 'quality and variety'

The judging panel for the Retail and Leisure Awards. Left to right, Gill Parkinson, editor of the Blackpool Gazette, Philip Welsh, head of visitor economy at Blackpool Council, Gary Lovatt, non-operational director of the Federation of Small Businesses, and Michelle Riley, commercial income manager at Blackpool and The Fylde College.
The judging panel for the Retail and Leisure Awards. Left to right, Gill Parkinson, editor of the Blackpool Gazette, Philip Welsh, head of visitor economy at Blackpool Council, Gary Lovatt, non-operational director of the Federation of Small Businesses, and Michelle Riley, commercial income manager at Blackpool and The Fylde College.

The judges have run the rule over the entries in the Gazette’s Retail and Leisure Awards and were delighted at the variety and quality of the businesses.

The inaugural awards, sponsored by Leftons, are designed to recognise, reward and celebrate all the successful retail and leisure destinations, and the people who work within them, across the Fylde Coast.

A host of entries were received in all ten categories and the judges described the standard as high.

Philip Welsh, head of visitor economy at Blackpool Council, said: “We were struck by the range and quality of the businesses, some well known in the area, but also a plethora of new, small businesses offering something completely different.

“We have seen a great mixture of strong independent businesses and national brands.”

Michelle Riley, commercial income manager at Blackpool and The Fylde College, said: “It was lovely to see so many new businesses represented.

“There are so many good ideas coming to Blackpool area which is very encouraging, people are not simply doing more of the same.”

Gary Lovatt, non-operational director of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “It is right that we look to recognise our small businesses particularly which don’t necessarily get the credit they deserve and we have seen a real spread of businesses across leisure and retail which gave us a lot to think about.”

The Gazette’s Editor, Gillian Parkinson, said: “The awards are a great way of celebrating the best of our retail and leisure businesses in Blackpool.

“These businesses are at the heart of our community and we wanted to recognise the fantastic part they play in the success of Blackpool as a brand.”

The shortlisted nominees in each category will be revealed in a special supplement in Friday’s Gazette.

They will be invited to a glittering gala presentation evening at Viva Blackpool on Thursday, November 23, when the winners will be announced.