The selection process for the awards involves an impartial panel of industry experts who generously volunteer their time to evaluate submissions. These individuals are chosen for their expertise and experience.

Judges review entries, ensuring a fair and unbiased evaluation. In cases where judges have conflicts of interest within specific categories, they abstain from participating in the assessment of those particular entries.

Upon the submission deadline, judges receive all entries in a uniform format, ensuring compliance with data protection regulations. Each entry is then scored by the judges based on the defined criteria for each category.

Judges meet to discuss their assessments and collectively reach a final decision on a single day, solely based on the content provided in the written entries.

It is crucial to note that the entire judging process is conducted confidentially, and all decisions reached during this process are considered final.

Louise Sydenham CGMA

Deputy Chief Executive - East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce

Louise Sydenham is Deputy CEO of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, lobbying for the members and the wider East Lancashire business community, providing advice, support and commercial services, specialising in international trade, procurement, creative, low carbon and professional business training. Having joined the company in 2002, Louise is responsible for all financial aspects of running the Chamber and is working for the businesses of East Lancashire to promote strong local economies and inward investment.

Louise has gained extensive financial and business experience throughout her career to date, qualifying as a Chartered Management Accountant in 2008 and served as an independent member of Burnley Borough Council’s audit and standards committee from 2002 to 2021 and as a governor and audit committee member of a local FE college from 2014 to 2018.

Gary F. Rycroft

Senior Partner - Joseph A Jones & Co Solicitors LLP

Gary was born at Morecambe and attended Morecambe High School. He read Law at the University of Manchester and qualified as a solicitor in 1998. Gary is the Senior Partner at Joseph A Jones & Co Solicitors in Lancaster, which is a niche practice of six lawyers specialising in wills, probate, trusts, powers of attorney, elderly clients and property transactions. Gary sits on the Age UK national committee supervising and scrutinising the charitable activity of the charity. He was formerly Chair of Dying Matters (a campaign to demystify death and dying) run by Hospice UK and was also Chair of The Dukes Theatre in Lancaster. In the media, Gary writes a weekly column for The Daily Telegraph Money Section called ‘Ask a lawyer’ and since 2009 has been the resident legal expert on the BBC1 consumer affairs programme “Rip Off Britain” presented by Gloria Hunniford, Angela Rippon and Julia Somerville.

Ginette Unsworth

Director of Communications & Events - UCLan

Ginette Unsworth is Director of Communications and Events at the University of Central Lancashire, responsible for media relations, internal communications for staff and students, and delivering showcase university events. Born in Blackpool, but having lived most of her life in Preston, Ginette completed a degree in English and Media in Leeds before going on to work in communications roles for the Central Office of Information and Ashworth Hospital. With more than 30 years of communications and marketing experience she then went on to lead communication and marketing teams at Keep Britain Tidy and Lancashire County Council.
Married with two children, Ginette was Governor of a local primary school for 8 years and loves sport, people and working with others to make a difference.

Councillor Sue Graham

Deputy Leader - Burnley Council

Sue Graham, Deputy Leader of Burnley Council. Sue has spent her whole working life trying to make Burnley and East Lancashire a better place to live, work and enjoy. She was lead on the Millennium Forest in Burnley and for having Burnley declared Britain's Greenest Town, long before it became trendy to be 'green'!

Guy Topping

Managing Director - The Barton Grange Group

Guy Topping has been managing director of The Barton Grange Group since January 1994. This includes the award-winning Barton Grange Garden Centre in Brock which was established by Guy’s father Eddie Topping in 1963. There are also two large plant nurseries, a marina on the Lancaster Canal and the Flower Bowl Entertainment Centre. Guy, whose career in the family garden centre began at the age of four, is said to have garden retail in his blood. In 2018, The Flower Bowl opened its doors on the same site offering a unique blend of premium entertainment, dining and leisure facilities. The venue recently won the Lancashire Tourism Award for Visitor Attraction of the Year 2022. Guy is also passionate about supporting young people and since January 2012, he has been Chairman of the Board of Preston Youth Zone, which once built will deliver a state-of-the-art facility for the young people of Preston and the surrounding areas.


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