More than 400 entrepreneurs at the Oxfordshire Business Awards used an app to pick the winner of a top charity accolade.

Now in its 24th year, the awards were presented at the futuristic John Henry Brookes Building at Oxford Brookes University’s Headington Campus.

For the first time, business leaders and their staff were given the chance to vote for three shortlisted charities with an app they downloaded onto their phones, and Oxford-based mental health charity Restore was named the winner of The Oxford Times Charity and Community Award. It beat Play2Give, a fundraising organisation run by Andrew Baker, from Didcot, and East Oxford-based charity Donnington Doorstep, which runs a family centre.

Following the win on Friday night Restore’s co-chief executive Lesley Dewhurst said: “Restore has been around for more than 40 years - we are more than delighted to win this. This award is dedicated to the members of Restore who benefit so much from the work we do to aid mental health recovery.”

The Oxford Times sponsors the Charity and Community Award, which was won last year by Charlbury-based SpecialEffect.

The charity designs video games equipment to boost the lives of young people with severe physical and mental health difficulties.

Each year a fundraising collection is held at the awards and SpecialEffect was given more than £3,000.

It was a massive night for Oxford Space Systems, based at Harwell Oxford.

CEO and founder Mike Lawton won The Shaw Gibbs Business Person of the Year, while the company won The Hawkins Business of the Year Award - the biggest award on the night.

Mr Lawton was absent so co-founder and head of design Vincent Fraux picked up the awards on his behalf.

He said: “It’s a great honour to get this recognition from the Oxfordshire business community.

“Oxfordshire is a hub of innovation and the hub of the space industry in the UK.”

The Hays Employer of the Year Award went to Witney-based motorcycle products company Oxford Products. It also won The NatWest Large Business Award.

Managing director Andrew Hammond said the Employer award was very important as it could sometimes be a struggle to find staff in a difficult recruitment area.

He added: “We are in a growth phase at the moment and are looking for more skilled staff.”

Kim Longford, one of the co-owners of The Shake Shop in Witney, shed a tear when it won The Syndicut Marketing Excellence Award. She said: “We have a loyal following.”

Tourism organisation Experience Oxfordshire won The Heart Cultural Events and Tourism Award. The evening’s guest speaker was TV presenter Chris Hollins.


*THE Oxford Times Charity and Community Award - Restore; shortlisted Donnington Doorstep, Play2Give

*The Hays Employer of the Year Award - Oxford Products; shortlisted Nielsen, Ridge and Partners LLP

*The Oxford Science Park Innovation Award - Adaptix; shortlisted Aigenpulse, ZapGo

*The Oxfordshire LEP New Business Award - TOAD; shortlisted Aigenpulse, Ethos Technology

*The Knights 1759 Small Business Award - Seacourt; shortlisted CQR, The Cocktail Service

*The NatWest Large Business Award - Oxford Products; shortlisted Audley Travel, Hedges Law

*The Shaw Gibbs Young Business Person of the Year Award - Tom Cutler of Laura James; shortlisted Paul Roberts of Aspire Oxford, Marcus Taylor of Venture Harbour

*The CIS Technology Excellence Award - Sesui; shortlisted Vitaccess

*The Heart Cultural Events & Tourism Award - Experience Oxfordshire; shortlisted Oxford Christmas Market, Bicester Heritage

*The Brita Green Award - Seacourt; shortlisted Oxford Energy Academy, Royal Cars

*The Syndicut Marketing Excellence Award - The Shake Shop; shortlisted Critchleys LLP, pampeano

*The Bicester Village Retail Award - Specsavers Bicester; shortlisted The Old Flight House, TOAD

*The Shaw Gibbs Business Person of the Year - Mike Lawton of Oxford Space Systems; shortlisted Andrew Hammond of Oxford Products, Greg Inge of CQR

*The Hawkins Business of the Year Award - Oxford Space Systems