Cumbrian businesses are celebrating after being named among the best in the North.

James Pittam Health and Fitness, based in Penrith, won the Northern fitness category in England’s Business Awards and also came away with the top title of the North’s Best Business.

And Scallywags, in Carlisle, was named Best Pet Grooming Business in Northern England at the ceremony, held at York Racecourse.

James, a former Royal Marine, said he was gobsmacked to win the fitness category and the overall title.

The awards are based on customer votes, their comments, a mystery shopper and a judge’s visit.

He said: “Words cannot describe the feeling. There were over 70 businesses represented at the awards ceremony and to be named the best was a real honour.

“I was taken aback at winning – credit must go to the team.”

James, 46, began his business in 2002 and it has grown to employ several members of staff, offering everything from diet guidance to physiotherapy, as well as personal training and have about 500 appointments a week.

Meanwhile, Scallywags owners Emma Jane and Ian Sanderson said they thought they didn’t have a chance at a win while at the ceremony.

Emma Jane said: “We were up against firms from North Yorkshire, Merseyside and Tyne and Wear.

“When they called our name, it was unbelievable. We were so small in comparison to the rest in our category. We were overwhelmed and can’t thank everyone who voted for us enough.”

The organisers of England’s Business Awards declined to reveal the full winners’ list to The Cumberland News.