`

Businessman's shock at top Lancashire accolade

Tony Attard of Panaz
Tony Attard of Panaz

The breadth and talent of the companies which make Lancashire a business powerhouse were put in the spotlight in the glittering surroundings of Blackpool Tower Ballroom at the BIBAs awards ceremony.

And the man who picked up the lifetime achievement award – Lancastrian of the Year – Tony Attard said it all: “Lancashire is one of the most amazing places in the world.”

Tony, who is High Sheriff but better known for leading Burnley-based international contract fabrics company Panaz and his work with Marketing Lancashire, was shocked but delighted to win the grand title.

He said he had been all set to give a speech at the BIBAs, but was stunned instead to hear his name called out for the prestigious award.

He said: “Lancashire is one of the most amazing places in the world.

“We are the best employers, best manufacturers, best creative people.

“We have a can-do attitude in Lancashire which makes us a very powerful force.

“So this is an incredible accolade to receive. I am shocked and bewildered.”

One Preston company picked up two of the 20 titles hotly contested by firms and individuals.

Sunshine Events, which has become the UK’s biggest supplier of fun equipment such as bouncy castles plus events organisation, won the Creative Business of the Year and the Service Business of the Year awards.

Sunny and James Sandwell who run it were delighted in the week that saw them sign off on a new warehouse in Milton Keynes.

James said: “On the face of it you might not think so but there is so much creativity in the company.

“When customers come to us for bespoke ideas for team building events or equipment, that’s when we get creative.

“We have realised recently that everyone who works for us at Sunshine is a creative person.”

l Full round-up: See Pages 24 and 25