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Katherine Ryan spoke of her fondness for Norfolk as she hosted the Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.

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The Norfolk Business Awards are a memorable night for many reasons – so we’ve picked five of our favourite moments from last night’s ceremony.
ShareKatherine Ryan spoke of her fondness for Norfolk as she hosted the Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.
o Katherine Ryan’s ode to Norfolk The ceremony was drawing to a close when host Katherine Ryan went off-script – not for the first time – to deliver her thoughts on the event, and her experiences of Norfolk.

“I don’t know if you ever wonder what the rest of the country says about you, I’m going to tell you right now,” she said. “I don’t speak to many people who are not comedians, but I will say that we tour all around and we try to be funny, try to make people laugh. I’m sorry if any of them have ever picked on you, but the way they truly feel in their hearts is we love coming to Norfolk.

“You carry yourselves, tonight even, with such welcoming energy, such friendly atmosphere, such grace. I always love gigging in Norwich, which is where I usually go and I look forward to coming to this part of the country. I just think you are such family oriented, really, really warm people and I wish you the most fantastic evening.”

Sure, she probably says it wherever she’s hosting an awards ceremony, but it was a reminder – on a night that was full of them – that Norfolk is worth celebrating.
Steve Earl of Panel Graphic with the Director of the Year trophy. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.
o The emotion of winning

It’s easy to forget that behind every winner’s speech, there are years or even decades of hard work. But the emotion in Steve Earl’s voice as he collected the Director of the Year trophy on behalf of his team was a powerful reminder of just what these awards can mean. On stage with his wife and daughter, the founder of Loddon-based Panel Graphic modestly shared the acclaim with his employees.

“I think to be a good director you need to employ good people. You need to direct the people and let them do a good job, and I’ve got a superb team,” he said. “I really wanted to bring everybody [on stage] but there wasn’t room.

It’s not me, it’s the team that has won this. I’m really, really, really proud.”
John Dye of JD Cooling Group receives the Business of the Year trophy from Tim Seeley of Barclays.

Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.
o Discovering excellence Norfolk’s business community is so rich and diverse that it’s not easy to keep up at times – even when you are one of its shining lights. Collecting the trophy for the overall Business of the Year title, John Dye of JD Cooling Group said he had been blown away by the quality on show.

His company does most of its business outside the county, and he later admitted he had not always paid enough attention to the excellence on the doorstep. “What a fantastic evening it’s been tonight,” he said as he received the award. “It’s opened my eyes to what a fantastic group of businesses we’ve got in Norfolk. “I feel a bit lost in such great company.

Thank you to everybody here for doing what you do – for yourselves, for your employees and for the community at large.”
David Parfrey, executive chairman of Norwich Research Park, speaking at the Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.
o ‘Norwich can solve the world’s challenges – but I need your help’

When it comes to grand ambitions, they don’t come much bigger than that – yet that was the stated aim of Norwich Research Park, recipient of the Outstanding Achievement award. Executive chairman David Parfrey listed climate change, food security and healthy ageing as among the 21st century’s greatest challenges before reminding the audience that scientists in Norwich are already leading the way in solving them. The next stage, he said, is to spread the word.

“I need your help,” he said. “We can put this region on the global map as the place where the world looks to for big problems to be solved. But we can only do that if people start talking about it.” o The after party
The after-party encouraged guests to celebrate their success following the awards. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.
This may not have been a memorable moment, strictly speaking, but the decision to extend the evening after the award proved a popular one. Plenty of guests chose to delay their taxi home to make the most of the late bar at the Norfolk Showground and to celebrate their successes.

Of course, in that regard at least, what happens at the Norfolk Business Awards stays at the Norfolk Business Awards…

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