Nominations open for Ribble Valley Business Awards

Karen Hands, of Enterprising People, presents the Pride of Ribble Valley award to John Houldsworth. Photo Liz Henson Photography.
Karen Hands, of Enterprising People, presents the Pride of Ribble Valley award to John Houldsworth. Photo Liz Henson Photography.
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Nominations for the fifth Ribble Valley Business Awards open next Thursday, July 19th.

This year 16 awards will be presented at a glittering ceremony at Stirk House in Gisburn on October 11th.

Being awarded the Pride of Ribble Valley title last year was a humbling experience for solicitor John Houldsworth.

John is a person who "just gets on with it" and although he has been involved in more than 10 organisations and led his family firm since 1979, he prefers not to seek the limelight.

His nominee wrote: “John is an inspiration to many local business owners and leaders (I count myself lucky to be one of them) for whom he has given time in mentoring and encouragement, again in his quiet manner, but always with a genuine and experienced eye to the real issues and solutions.”

John still works full time as a director at the family firm Houldsworth Solicitors, with branches in Whalley and Clitheroe, and has no intention of retiring.

He said: “This award is something I would never have dreamed of being nominated for in my life.

“I have always done what I do because I have wanted to, never for any public recognition. It is about putting something back into your community.”

Walking is a passion and John was a founder member and first chairman of Hyndburn Ramblers’ Association.

John is a director of Clitheroe Festival of Food and is also a director of Ribble Valley FM local radio station.

Houldsworth Solicitors was founded 200 years ago, and when John started working there aged 19 it employed four people. There are now five solicitors, two legal executives and 18 support staff.

John has a willingness to embrace new media and so the company has ditched paper files and everything is now all stored on "The Cloud" and accessible from mobile devices from anywhere in the world.

He said: “On the stage I felt the other two finalists were both more worthy winners and I thought the trophy should go to one of them. I was shocked when my name was read out.”

John said many people in his home village of Waddington as well as in Clitheroe have congratulated him on the award.

He said: “I had never attended a Ribble Valley Business Awards ceremony before, but I was impressed when I went to the ceremony in October last year and I saw the enthusiasm people had for their businesses.

“Being in business is hard work and so we decided to become involved and are sponsoring the Made in Ribble Valley Award as a way of giving back.”

To nominate a business visit

Nominations close on August 23rd.

This year's awards and sponsors are:

Artisan Business sponsored by lovelocalnetworking; B2B Business sponsored by Lancashire Business View; Creative Business sponsored by The Grand, Clitheroe; Customer Friendly Business sponsored by Clitheroe Chamber; Food Business sponsored by Napthens Solicitors; Independent Retailer sponsored by FS Accountants; Innovation sponsored by DSM Chartered Accountants; Made in Ribble Valley sponsored by Houldsworths Solicitors; Medium to Large Business sponsored by Forbes Solicitors; Micro Business sponsored by Evans Accountants; New Business sponsored by Silverwoods Waste Management Ltd; Not For Profit sponsored by Community Futures; Pride of Ribble Valley sponsored by Enterprising People; Small Business sponsored by Harrison Drury; Sole Trader sponsored by Boundless Networks; Beacon Award not sponsored; Ceremony Sponsor Ginger Pumpkin.