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The 30th Medway Business Awards are being held at Priestfield Stadium in Gillingham tonight

A record number of 400 guests and VIPs are expected at tonight’s (Friday) Medway Business Awards gala night at Priestfield, Gillingham.

At around 10pm, a dozen finalists from the 2014 entry, and past winners that continue to thrive in Medway, will find out who has won the trophies and cash prizes. It will be a moment of tension, joy and celebration. But each business can be proud of reaching the 30th anniversary final.

As shown in our 20-page anniversary supplement The Only Way is Up, free inside this week's Medway Messenger, the event is a celebration of all that’s best about business in Medway, not only in 2014 but also throughout the past three decades.

Winners of the 2013 Medway Business Awards Stephen and Anny Lowe
Winners of the 2013 Medway Business Awards Stephen and Anny Lowe

As well as saluting this year’s finest businesses, the gala honours seven previous winners, with one receiving the Best of the Best accolade.

The awards were founded in the wake of the closure of Chatham Royal Naval Dockyard in 1984. It was a devastating blow to the Towns.

But the past 30 years have witnessed a remarkable recovery, with the Medway Business Awards playing a part in the area’s economic revival.

They have recognised and rewarded exceptional business achievement, often against the odds. Over the past 30 years, hundreds of firms have entered the county’s oldest business contest.

David Jones, founder of the awards in 1984 when he was editor of the Kent Evening Post and now a Messenger columnist, will present the 2014 top trophy.

Trevor Shave, relationship manager with Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking in Chatham, chaired this year’s judging panel. He said: “Choosing the final 12 proved to be an incredibly difficult task as the quality of entrants was exceptionally high in this 30th year.

Trevor Shave, chairman of Medway Business Awards judging panel
Trevor Shave, chairman of Medway Business Awards judging panel

“It took many hours of painstaking deliberation but we believe the finalists provide a fantastic cross-section of the very best businesses in the Medway Towns.”

He also hailed the entrants in the Best of the Best category, saying it was fantastic to see how they had continued to flourish in Medway since winning the trophy.

Sylvia Meade, chairman of the awards organising group, said: “This important anniversary year has exceeded our expectations both in the number of entries and the high standard. It underlines the commercial progress of the Towns since 1984.”

The awards are sponsored by A Better Medway, ECITB, Kent Business School, E-on UK, Furley Page, Lloyds Bank, Medway Council, Reeves, University for the Creative Arts, University of Greenwich, National Grid, Mid Kent College, Southern Water, The Historic Dockyard Chatham, Southeastern, KM Media Group (Medway Messenger) and Kent Reliance.

See the Medway Messenger on Monday for the winners and next Friday’s edition on November 28 for a full results and picture round-up.

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