IT was a hat-trick of wins for construction firm Hawkins Group at the 2017 Oxfordshire Business Awards.

On Friday night more than 500 business leaders and staff gathered at the King's Centre in Osney Mead, West Oxford, for the 23rd annual awards.

The host on the night for the black tie dinner was broadcaster Gyles Brandreth and winners were announced after being shortlisted in 12 categories.

Banbury-based Hawkins Group won big on the night.

The firm won The NatWest Large Business Award, and group managing director Mike Hawkins was named the Shaw Gibbs Young Business Person of the Year, before the company won the Darke & Taylor Business of the Year Award at the end of the night.

Mr Hawkins said: "I'm over the moon - I am here because of my staff.

"I feel quite emotional that we have won three awards in one night."

Awards chairman Paul Lowe said the switch to a new venue this year had been a success.

He said: "The switch has been a great success - I think everything worked very well.

"The Oxfordshire Business Awards go from strength to strength - tickets sold out in record time in just over a week and at our judges' meeting the judges reported that the standard of entries had been the best in years.

"Entries come from all parts of the county and reflect the diverse nature of Oxfordshire businesses.

"You and your businesses should feel justifiably proud of what you have achieved - you are all winners."

Mr Lowe said the awards would not be able to take place without the backing of sponsors.

He added: "It's not just the financial commitment, the sponsors go out judging and commit a lot of time to the awards."

Mr Lowe added that Mr Brandreth had been 'the best speaker in 23 years'.

Charlbury-based SpecialEffect, which helps people with serious disabilities to enjoy life through video games, won The Oxford Times Charity and Community Award.

Fundraiser Nick Streeter, who has been involved with the charity since it was formed in 2007, said: "This is a huge boost - we did not expect to win and I think in this section each charity is a winner.

"I think this award gives staff and volunteers confidence and shows them what a difference we can make."

Sarah Airey, a spokeswoman for Cowley Road Works, said she was delighted the Cowley Road Carnival, which takes place this year on Sunday, July 2, had won The Heart Cultural Events and Tourism Award.

She said: "The carnival brings in people from the city, the county and the whole country - it's the second biggest after the Notting Hill Carnival - it's brilliant to get this award in the run-up to the carnival."

Kidlington-based printing firm Hunts won the Syndicut Marketing Excellence Award.

CEO Timon Colegrove said: "We are thrilled - we are a printing company that has taken the journey to become a creative marketing business."

Oxfordshire Business Awards 2017

The Hays Employer of the Year Award

Winner: Adestra

Shortlisted: Miele, Harrison Catering Services

The Oxford Science Park Innovation Award

Winner: Perspectum Diagnostics

Shortlisted: Sesui, Reaction Engines

The Oxfordshire Apprenticeships Apprenticeship of the Year Award

Winner: Nielsen

Shortlisted: Oxford University, Social Sidekick

The Oxfordshire LEP New Business Award

Winner: Lentus Composites

Shortlisted: Savoir Fare, The Burnside Partnership

The Knights Small Business Award

Winner: Ue Coffee Roasters

Shortlisted: Oxford Space Systems, Savvy Construction

The NatWest Large Business Award

Winner: Hawkins Group

Shortlisted: Oxford Products, Tibbetts Group

The Shaw Gibbs Young Business Person of the Year Award

Winner: Mike Hawkins - Hawkins Group

Shortlisted Richard Marsh - CIS, Mark Walford - TrustedCare

The Oxford Times Charity and Community Award

Winner: SpecialEffect

Shortlisted Blue Skye Thinking, Sobell House Hospice Charity

The Heart Cultural Events and Tourism Award

Winner: Cowley Road Works - Cowley Road Carnival

Shortlisted Manor Cottages, Huffkins

The Brita Green Award

Winner: Grundon Waste Management

Shortlisted: Go Green Taxis, Polythene UK

The Syndicut Marketing Excellence Award

Winner: Hunts

Shortlisted: Blue Skye Thinking, The Rooflight Company

The Shaw Gibbs Business Person of the Year Award

Winner: Jonathan Tibbetts - Tibbetts Group

Shortlisted Mike Lawton - Oxford Space Systems, Kate Allen - Allen Associates

The Darke & Taylor Business of the Year Award

Winner: Hawkins Group