Go Ape is top of the tree at the National Business Awards

Tristram Mayhew of Go Ape receives the company's National Business Awards trophy from Natalie Calve

Tristram Mayhew of Go Ape receives the company's National Business Awards trophy from Natalie Calvert founder and managing director of Calcom Group, which sponsored the Customer Focus category. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk-based high-wire forest adventure company Go Ape has been named among the winners in the 2015 National Business Awards.

Go Ape, which operates 28 tree-top courses, won the Customer Focus award, for businesses demonstrating how they strive to exceed customer expectation and deliver industry-leading standards of service.

The company’s courses offer participants outdoor fun and exercise, navigating their way through the treetops via zip lines, Tarzan swings and other obstacles.

Besides its main courses, which are aimed at adults, it also runs 12 junior adventure facilities and 10 forest experiences using Segway vehicles.

To win the Customer Focus award, Go Ape, which is based near Bury St Edmunds, beat off competition from nine other finalists from around the UK.

The judges said: “Go Ape go the extra mile when it comes to Customer Focus - they demonstrate strong ethics, excellent financials, continued innovation and a high level of commitment to delivering great experiences for their customers.”

Tristram Mayhew, “chief gorilla” at Go Ape, said: “Go Ape was born in East Anglia and we’re proud to be a part of there.

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“It’s a great place to start a business and we’ve always felt completely at home and I think our greatest supporters are people who started the first course and have stayed with us, so I’m grateful to them and I would recommend it as a really good place to get great people to work for you and a super place to start a business.”

More than 1,200 business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians and media representatives gathered at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London for the 14th annual National Business Awards, for which Lloyds Bank was main sponsor.

The awards ceremony was presented by Sky News’ Ian King and Poppy Trowbridge, with former astronaut and second man on the moon Buzz Aldrin as headline speaker.

Prime Minister David Cameron opened proceedings at the ceremony with a message for this year’s finalists. He told the audience: “I want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you on behalf of the whole country, for all that you’re doing to create jobs and growth in Britain...tonight we celebrate all that you’re doing, from your leadership in digital and innovation, to the Duke of York’s new award for University Entrepreneurship, these awards are rightly the Oscars of great British business.

“The awards recognise people who have the guts to strike out on their own, who have the tenacity to work hard for every deal and who have the innovation and vision that lets you grow your business and take new people on. Its people like you who are making this the most entrepreneurial and dynamic period in our country’s recent history. So thank you again for all you’re doing.”

Other winners included Crown Paints, which triumphed in the Grichan Partnership Sustainable Business of the Year category, Premiership Rugby, winner of the Corporate Citizenship Award, The Body Coach, winner of the Lloyds Bank New Business of the Year, and BT Group, winner of the QBE FTSE 100 Business of the Year title.

Carolyn McCall, chief executive of easyJet, was named Ashridge Business School Leader of the Year, the highest accolade in the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards which recognises the personal imprint of the UK’s most high profile leaders and industry champions from the private,