Train firm backs awards

Boss: Virgin Trains General Manager for the North and Scotland, Gary Iddon
Boss: Virgin Trains General Manager for the North and Scotland, Gary Iddon
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One of Britain’s biggest brands has signed up to back an award celebrating the outstanding customer service offered by Lancashire businesses.

Virgin Trains, which has a major hub at Preston train station, is sponsoring the Excellence in Customer Service award up for grabs at this year’s Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs.

Preston’s College, has also signed up as sponsor of the Employer of the Year category.

There is one month to go until the deadline for entries to the awards’ 18 prize categories which closes on April 11.

Virgin Trains, Gary Iddon, General Manager for Scotland and the North, said: “We pride ourselves on giving our customers the very best service and believe this is integral to being a successful business.

“Through our long-standing relationship with the BIBAs we know a wealth of Lancashire companies hold the values of excellent customer service in high esteem.

“It is for this reason that Virgin Trains is once again sponsoring the BIBAs and celebrating the achievements of the companies which make Lancashire’s business community what it is.”

Preston’s College principal Lis Smith said her involvement with the awards in recent years had highlighted the number of top employers in the county.

“The BIBAs is all about giving these companies a spotlight to shine in and, once again, we are proud to give them the opportunity.”

Last week, the BIBAs organisers hosted two boot camp-style workshops to assist businesses seeking to apply for one of the 18 prizes.

The events, hosted by Lancaster University Management School, saw former business winners OBAS UK and Blackpool-based Ink Squid discuss how they had been successful in previous years.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of awards’ organisers, the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We had some great feedback from the boot camps with a lot of businesses telling us they helped put them on the right track.

“The input of Moira Decter and Ian Gordon, of LUMS’s Institute of Entrepreneurship, was invaluable and got the businesses attending thinking about their businesses in a different way.

“We hope those attending will submit some of the highest-quality applications we will receive at this year’s BIBAs and end up with some of the 18 prizes.”

The prize-giving ceremony will take place at Blackpool Tower on Friday, September 12 in what is expected to be a sell-out event.

For further details and to apply for any BIBAs category, visit