Steel stockholding and industrial supplies business Thomas Graham has been crowned Family Business of the Year for the North and Northern Ireland.

The company, based at Kingmoor Park in Carlisle, took the top honour at a glittering awards ceremony held last night by Family Business United at the prestigious five-star May Fair Hotel in London.

Thomas Graham – a fifth generation family business established in 1892 – went through to the finals to take on counterparts from across the region and across the Irish Sea after winning the Outstanding Cumbria Family Business of the Year gong at the Cumbria Family Business Awards in March.

Its managing director Roger Smith – the great-great-grandson of the original Thomas Graham – said: “We are delighted to have won this award, which is a fantastic achievement for our family firm.

“Winning is testament to the hard work, commitment and dedication of the 200 plus staff that contribute to the continual improvement and success of the company.

“Our staff are incredible, and we are very lucky to have the workforce we do. They live and breathe the value of the business, work incredibly hard and have brought us to where we are today.

“We have come a long way in the last 127 years, but our values have remained the same from the beginning. We are a family run business and strive to continually improve and do the best that we can for our staff, customers and local community,” added Mr Smith, who runs the business with his father Ian and sister Amanda.

Paul Andrews, founder and managing director of Family Business United, an award-winning online magazine and resource centre for the family business community, said Thomas Graham were worthy winners.

“Thomas Graham is a fantastic family firm and is highly deserving of all the plaudits that winning this award brings,” he said.

“This is a business that is proud of its history and heritage yet remains focused on making a difference. They recognise the need to promote non-family talent to the ‘top table’ and have a governance framework that works for them where decisions can be made quickly and effectively too.  

He added: “The wider team is integral to their success – there is constant investment and innovation too and they demonstrate a real sense of community involvement and support and a real pride in what they do.”

Sue Howorth, of The Family Business Network Ltd, who founded the Cumbria Family Business Awards with Flock PR & Events, said: “Thomas Graham is a fantastic family firm and not only are they worthy winners, they are great ambassadors, not just for Cumbria but for family businesses across the UK and I am delighted at their success.”

She also praised other finalists from Cumbria who stepped up to the national awards after winning at home.

Runners-up were Garden of Eden, Reays and The Crafty Baa. 

Others shortlisted included Amy’s Care, Yew Tree barn, The Apple Pie Cafe and Bakery, Dodgson Woods, Simpson & Partners and Sweethearts Cumbria.

The 2019 awards – designed to celebrate the vital contribution of family businesses of all sizes to the UK economy – attracted a record number of entries.

The UK is home to around five million family firms who support 12 million jobs and generate a significant contribution to the country’s GDP.