Three leading family businesses from around the county are finalists in the Best Family Business category at the in-Cumbria Business Awards to be held at The Halston, Carlisle on Thursday (November 9).

Family businesses have often featured in the prestigious annual awards across a range of diverse sectors and categories.

But it's the first time family businesses have been given their own dedicated category in the awards, which are organised by CN Group.

Armstrong Watson, leading independent and financial and business advisers in the north of England and Scotland, which has supported family business through the generations and this year celebrates its 150th anniversary, is sponsoring the category.

The Best Family Business category was among the most hotly-contested in this year’s awards and the judges had a difficult task shortlisting all the entries to just three finalists.

The inaugural Best Family Business finalists are: Out of Eden of Kirkby Stephen, Stalkers Transport Services of Brampton, and Roland Hill Limited of Wigton.

A family business judging panel chaired by Sue Howorth, of the Family Business Network, and including Kevin Engel, of sponsors Armstrong Watson, and Jonathan Lee, group development director at CN Group, visited all three finalists.

Jonathan said: “As judges we were lucky to enjoy a wonderful day travelling around the county and receiving such a warm welcome and fabulous insight from all three finalists.

“It was a real privilege to meet the families behind all the businesses in their own working environment

“I would like to thank all three for the time they set aside from their busy business lives to share their experience and knowledge. We all really appreciated it.

“All three, like so many family businesses, had amazing stories to tell, and have all been hugely successful in growing their businesses.

“The finalists were in diverse sectors but from meeting the teams we witnessed several common threads, including the pride and commitment which drives so many family businesses across the generations.

“All three families and businesses were hugely worthy finalists and all are achieving outstanding results in their own fields.

“I can honestly say that as judges we had a difficult time picking a winner.

“I really hope representatives from all three businesses have a great night on Thursday in a county where we are blessed with so many successful family businesses across a whole range of sectors.

“Thanks go to Armstrong Watson for supporting this category in its first year and we hope all their team also have a very enjoyable evening.”

The in-Cumbria Business Awards will be hosted by BBC Media Editor Amol Rajan. There are 15 categories in total, plus a Lifetime Achievement Award which will be revealed on the night.

Jonathan said: “CN Group would like to thank all those who entered this year’s awards and made 2017 a record year for entries.

“We would like to congratulate all the finalists, and thank awards sponsorship partners Sellafield Limited, and all category sponsors, without whom the awards evening would not be possible.

“Good luck to all those businesses and individuals who are up for an award. We hope you all have a great night.”

You will be able to follow the awards across CN Group’s digital channels, with all the reaction also across its print titles, including the December issue of in-Cumbria business magazine. To receive your daily business e-newsletter and keep up to date with all the very latest business news from around the county sign up at