SALISBURY’S businesses big and small were honoured at the annual excellence awards on Friday night.

The awards are put on by Salisbury and District Chamber of Commerce and the Salisbury Business Improvement District, and were held at the Stones Hotel at High Post near Amesbury - a new venue for 2024. 

Prizes included £1,000 worth of free advertising with the Journal. 

Rising Star award

Salisbury Journal: Emma CoombsEmma Coombs (Image: Spencer Mulholland)

THIS year’s Rising Star Award has been won by Emma Coombs from Mark Jones Eye Care.

Emma is a trainee Dispensing Optician who has still final exams to come in the summer.

Immediately after winning the award, she told the Journal her heart was pounding and that she felt “ecstatic” and was not expecting to win the award.

She said: “Massive thanks to Mark Jones Eye Care, without them I wouldn’t be here now.”

When asked what she enjoys about her job, Emma said: “I love working with patients, that come in and seeing different patients each day. “It’s a great place to work with great support from all the staff as well”.

Highly commended in this category - which was sponsored by Wiltshire College and University Centre - were Lidi Batchelor and Becky Cowlan.

Best Start-up/new business award

Salisbury Journal: David Harber, Craig Hicks and Andy MunnsDavid Harber, Craig Hicks and Andy Munns (Image: Spencer Mulholland)

THE award for best start-up or new business went to Salisbury Radio.

This award celebrates the growth and success of a business that has started and been trading for one to three years.

Andy said: “The BBC and other commercial radio stations leave a void in Salisbury, so there are kind of two entities in the city, the Journal being the other one.

“We are filling a big a hole, between us and the Journal, there is a real importance about local events, local news, things that are happening that people care about, and we talk about them on the radio every day”.

David said: “While all other media is concentrating itself in being interested in global affairs, we all know that people of Salisbury care about the city they are in, and the local newspaper and the local radio station is important to people’s lives, and it is great to be recognised.”

Highly commended in this category, which was sponsored by Howdens Insurance, were Stonebury Functions and Spire Telecom.

Service Excellence award

Salisbury Journal: The team from The Hair Extension CaveThe team from The Hair Extension Cave (Image: Spencer Mulholland)

AFTER being Highly Commended in last year’s Small Business award, The Hair Extension Cave this year proved a cut above the rest, taking home the Service Excellence gong.

The Hair Extension Cave focuses on hair extensions people who have alopecia or who are undergoing chemotherapy, and is specialist work “to make people feel like themselves again and to take some of their worries away from them”.

After winning the award, business owner Molly Cook told the Journal: “I’m a bit shaken and a bit shocked, but really happy. I enter these awards quite often but I never usually win, but I have been highly commended."

FW Capital sponsored this category, in which Bluebird Care Wiltshire South and Mark Jones Eye and Hearing Care were highly commended.

Sustainable Business award

Salisbury Journal: Craig Duff (left) and Chris Horgan from NanogreenCraig Duff (left) and Chris Horgan from Nanogreen (Image: Spencer Mulholland)

THE Sustainable Business Award was won by Nanogreen, a commercial cleaning and soft facilities management company based in Swindon.

Founder Craig Duff said: “It feels superb. We’ve been around a long time, ten years, we have been nominated four times now so it's quite special to win.

“It really is special, we have fought a lot of barriers along the way but we have been true to our colours and we haven’t changed our ethos, and now we have an award for it”.

Chris added: “We are holistically sustainable, so we employ people that have had barriers to employment, they’ve been homeless or had addictions, criminal convictions, as well as focusing on the environmental impacts of the products we use.”

Highly Commended in this category were Mark Jones Eye and Hearing Care and Salisbury Hospital. This award was sponsored by Grist Environmental.

Charity and Social Enterprise award

Salisbury Journal: The team from Salisbury Hospice Charity with the Rev'd Canon Kelvin Inglis The team from Salisbury Hospice Charity with the Rev'd Canon Kelvin Inglis (Image: Spencer Mulholland)

This year's Charity and Social Enterprise Award was won by the Salisbury Hospice Charity.

The team said: “It’s the first award we’ve won as a charity, so its fantastic to win.”

Day-to-day, the team works as fundraisers with supporters from businesses, local groups, individuals, trusts and foundations, who help us raise money to keep the doors open at Salisbury Hospice.

They added: “We are absolutely thrilled, and it is a wonderful thing we can share with our supporters, because we wouldn’t be here as a fundraising team without the support they give us.

A “big thank you” was also extended from the board of trustees to the fundraising team for all their hard work.

The award was sponsored by St Thomas’s Church. The Stars Appeal and South Wilts Mencap were Highly Commended.

Visitor Experience award

Salisbury Journal: Tamsin Shearn (left) and Jane Wilkinson from Fisherton MillTamsin Shearn (left) and Jane Wilkinson from Fisherton Mill (Image: Spencer Mulholland)

Fisherton Mill took home this year’s Visitor Experience award, sponsored by the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce and Salisbury BID.

This award recognises those businesses who welcome visitors to Salisbury and surrounding areas.

Fisherton Mill is home to an art gallery, cafe, studios, and several creative businesses.

Jane Wilkinson said: “We have more than a hundred artists that display their work in the gallery, we have fantastic staff very hard working and welcoming and they make it a very good visitor experience.”

Jane and Tamsin said it felt “fantastic” to win, and Tamsin added: “We just weren’t expecting it”.

Also Highly Commended in this category were The Hair Extension Cave and The Immersive Group.

Small Business of the Year award

Salisbury Journal: Left to right: Chris McShane, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Sarah Burch, Apprenticeship Consultant, Clare Dickinson, Chief Operating Officer and Fergus McShane, Chief Technology OfficerLeft to right: Chris McShane, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Sarah Burch, Apprenticeship Consultant, Clare Dickinson, Chief Operating Officer and Fergus McShane, Chief Technology Officer (Image: Spencer Mulholland)

This award celebrates the success of a business with turnover of less than £750,000, and this year went to Learning 3D, an educational consultancy firm which works with schools. 

Chris told the Journal: “It’s just incredible to win. We believe in ourselves and now someone else is telling us they believe in us as well, and that’s incredible. 

“As a young business you strive and strive and strive, and then someone says they believe in you. We want to push the boundaries about what’s possible in education, and we are the vanguard of the future and I think we have always been a mission driven company and today is a validation of that”. 

Clare Dickinson said they didn’t think they had a chance, and actually thought there had been a mistake and that Wiltshire College had won the award. 

Sponsored by Oliver Chandler, the Highly Commended businesses were Salisbury and South Wilts Physiotherapy and The Hair Extension Cave. 

Large Business of the Year award

Salisbury Journal: D&N Construction and Maintenance.D&N Construction and Maintenance. (Image: Spencer Mulholland)

2024’S Large Business of the Year Award went to D&N Construction and Maintenance.

The Dunbar Associates-sponsored award celebrates the success of businesses with turnover of £750,000 or more.

Among other things, D&N Construction and Maintenance work on projects with Salisbury City Council, Wiltshire Council and Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.

The team thought their chances of winning was “slim”, especially after hearing the two Highly Commended businesses.

Two of the team there on the night was managing director and founder David Jacobs and director Kevin Rattigan.

They said: “The competition was really high so it was a big surprise. We are really happy”.

The Immersive Group and Geosight Limited were Highly Commended.

Lifetime Achievement award

Salisbury Journal: This year's Lifetime Achievement award was awarded posthumously to Mary Webb

This year’s Lifetime Achievement award was given posthumously to Mary Webb.

Mary was a Salisbury City Councillor from May 2021 to August 2022 before she died unexpectedly.

Her “dedication and relentless energy” resulted into her being appointed as the chair of the Wiltshire and Somerset committee for the Federation of Small Businesses until 2019 and was a “dedicated champion” for businesses in Salisbury.

She ran a variety of businesses in her lifetime and was especially involved in the hospitality and accommodation sectors.

Mary also won the FSB’s National Volunteer Outstanding Achievement award in 2021.

Mary’s daughter Xanthe and granddaughter Daisy accepted the award on behalf of the family.