Surprises promised at Preston's awards night

A top awards night celebrating Preston's best shops, restaurants and night life has now completely sold out.

More than 48,000 votes have been cast for Preston’s Smiles Better Awards, which recognise outstanding businesses and people in Preston city centre.

All tickets have now been sold for the March 20 event at the Guild Hall.

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The awards, sponsored by Abbey Telecom, highlight the achievements of owners and employees of city centre businesses, and this year attracted more than 200 nominations.

A total of 15 prizes are up for grabs, including Independent Retailer of the Year, Multiple Retailer of the Year, Customer Service Champion, and Restaurant of the Year.

In addition, a ‘Special Recognition Award’ which cannot be voted for, will be awarded to someone who’s made a significant contribution to the city.

And the infamous Fishergate Bollard has caused controversy by being shortlisted in the City Star category.

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Mark Whittle, manager of organisers Preston Business Improvement District, said: “It’s a sell-out – we’re full now which is great.

“Awards will be handed out by guest presenters from across the city this time, instead of the hosts handing them out.

“The bollard will ‘feature’ in the awards, along with an additional surprise.”

And to add a bit of colour, tables have been numbered and named after famous Prestonians including architect Sir George Grenfell Baines, animator Nick Park, former swimmerStephanie Slater and others.