Adnams, Aspall and Milsom Hotels shortlisted for regional Family Business of the Year title

The presentation of last years award. From left, Jolyon Berry of Birketts, Phillip Prior and Harrie

The presentation of last years award. From left, Jolyon Berry of Birketts, Phillip Prior and Harriet Prior of winner Adcock Refrigeration and Air Conditioning and Paul Andrews of Family Business United. Photo: Contributed - Credit: Archant

Fourteen firms from across four counties are in contention for the 2017 East and East Anglia Family Business of the Year Award.

The competition, now its is fifth year, is run by Family Business United, an online resource for family firms, in association with regional law firm Birketts, which has offices in Ipswich, Chelmsford, Norwich and Cambridge.

Among the companies shortlisted this year are two of the best-known names from the Suffolk food and drink sector, Southwold-based brewer, distiller and leisure retailer Adnams and cider and vinegar maker Aspall, based at Aspall, near Debenham.

Also in the running are two businesses based in Essex, including Milsom Hotels, which owns Le Talbooth, Milsoms and Maison Talbooth at Dedham, The Pier at Harwich and Kesgrave Hall, near Ipswich, and Warmer Homes Heating & Renewables, from Tilbury.

This year’s shortlist is completed by five firms each from Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.

From Cambridgeshire are: Fusion Conferences, based at Snailwell, near Newmarket; marquee hire business The Highfield Event Group, from Burwell, near Cambridge, and including Ipswich-based Hansa Marquee Hire; soft drinks producer Breckland Orchard, from Babraham; airport transfer taxi firm Airport Lynx, based at Cottenham; and energy management software company eSight Energy, from Swavesey.

Norfolk companies in contention include: perennials wholesaler Howard Nurseries from Diss; Barnwell Print from Aylsham; Norwich-based fresh produce wholesaler D&F McCarthy; cut flowers specialist JA Collison & Sons, from Terrington St Clement, near King’s Lynn; and Kitchens Etc from North Creake, near Burnham Market.

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Paul Andrews, founder and managing director of Family Business United, said: “We are delighted to be able to pull together such a vibrant bunch of family businesses, some that have succeeded for numerous generations and continue to thrive and others that are relatively young but have great values at the heart of what they do.”

Adam Jones, head of family business at Birketts, added: “Any one of those shortlisted could make worthy winners and ambassadors for the sector. We are looking forward to finding out more about each of them and I am sure that the decision to determine the winner will not be easy.”

The award, now it its fifth year, is open to family-run firms of all sizes and from all sectors. Last year’s winner was Cambridge-based Adcock Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, which was formed by John Adcock in 1964 and now has branches across East Anglia, the Midlands and the South East at locations including Ipswich, Chelmsford and Norwich.

This year’s awards process will conclude with a ceremony taking place in London at the May Fair Hotel in London on June 8, when the winner will be announced.