Plenty of pizzazz at first Plymouth & Devon Chamber of Commerce awards


By WILLIAM TELFORD, Business Editor, Herald



WINNER: Dr Suzanne Sparrow, centre, won the Chairman’s Award for Special Contribution

 LANGUAGE BOSS boss Suzanne Sparrow received a standing ovation when she was honoured for decades of service to Plymouth’s economy at a pizzazz-packed awards ceremony.

The 91-year-old was a popular choice – pipping carpet magnate Larry Speare and motor dealer Peter Vosper – to receive the Chairman’s Award for Special Contribution at the first Plymouth & Devon Chamber of Commerce business awards.

Dr Sparrow, who still runs the successful Suzanne Sparrow Language School and has been involved with the chamber for years, thanked chamber members, and its chairman Richard Stevens, during a heart-felt speech.

And she paid special tribute to the chamber’s outgoing chief executive, Peter Hartland, who has left the organisation for personal reasons, and was not at the ceremony.

She said the Chamber had “a lively, outgoing approach’, very much different to the “old boys’ network” she joined in 1978.

“We are here to promote the city and have seen an upsurge in our Chamber movement, particularly in the past 14 months,” she said. “That has been down to Peter. We can only wish him well.”

The black-tie ceremony, compered by TV personality David FitzGerald at the National Marine Aquarium, saw honours handed out in another six categories.

The Herald’s parent firm DCMedia just missed out on being named Large Business of the Year, the award going to Plymouth Citybus.

Medium Business of the Year was the social enterprise Real Ideas Organisation, and app developer Elixel took the small business gong.

Networker of the Year was Clare Geraghty, of Barclays Bank; and Emma Taylor, from City College Plymouth, won the Rising Star Award.

Electric motor component manufacturer Fairford Ltd was named Exporter of the Year.

Mr Stevens said: “It’s important to celebrate success.

“The city is a rising star and showing the calibre and quality of what we are producing, and showing what we are going to do, in front of the country, is special.”

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