Wimmera businesses rewarded 

Almost 300 people dressed in their finest and headed to Horsham Town Hall for the biennial Powercor Wimmera Business Awards on Friday.

The finalists of 84 nominations enjoyed a three-course meal as they found out the winners of the 14 categories, including Business of the Year.

Horsham's Sylvania Park owners Bob and June Liddy claimed the first win of the evening Tourism and Attraction before scooping the prestigious Business of the Year gong at the end of the evening.

Mrs Liddy said she was overwhelmed with the success.

"We thought we had a chance in Tourism and Attraction but we never thought we'd win Business of the Year,'' she said.

Mrs Liddy acknowledged her daughter Rowena Doyle Sylvania Park's managing director who put together the business's application but could not attend the event.

"She brings the youth, the personality, to the business,'' she said. "She's just amazing.''

Mrs Liddy said Sylvania Park had been involved in previous business awards before and had won in different categories.

She said she looked forward to the future. "We're just thrilled with what we've been trying to do at Sylvania Park,'' she said.

"It's been a great journey. Our family has been a great support.''

Along with business wins, individuals tasted success at the awards.

O'Connors Farm Machinery workshop foreman Nigel Rogers was officially crowned a Young Leader in Business. He said he had not expected the accolade.

"The quality of the other finalists was amazing,'' he said. "It's an honour even to be a finalist in these awards.''

Mr Rogers, 29, said he loved his work with O'Connors and thanked the business for its support.

O'Connors also scored another winner, with heavy diesel mechanic apprentice Bryce Hateley earning Outstanding Trainee-Apprentice.

Mr Hateley, 22, said he would finish his apprenticeship in February next year.

"We've always got something going on, all year around,'' he said. "O'Connors has been really good to me.''

Wimmera Development Association project manager and awards organiser Tammy McDonald said she was pleased with the event's success.

She said videos of each finalist, played before category winners were announced, would be available for businesses to use for promotion.

Mrs McDonald congratulated all the winners, in particular Mrs Liddy for Business of the Year.

"I was watching for her reaction,'' she said.

"June's reaction made the whole process worthwhile. She was so overjoyed and so excited.''

To view a slideshow of images from the evening please click here.

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