As it happened: North East Business Awards 2014, Grand Final

The North East Business Awards 2014, Grand Final takes place tonight at Hardwick Hall Hotel. Follow our LIVE coverage here from 6pm

North East Business Awards 2013
Last year's North East Business Awards winners

The Journal and Evening Gazette host the biggest business party in the North East tonight as the The North East Business Awards 2014, Grand Final takes place at Hardwick Hall Hotel, Sedgefield, County Durham.

Follow our LIVE coverage here from 6pm. If you're at the event, tweet us using the hashtag #nebizawards - we'd love to see your pics!

The North East Business Awards 2014, Grand Final takes place tonight at Hardwick Hall Hotel tonight.  LIVE coverage here from 6pm

18.30

Good evening and welcome to the Grand Final of the North East Business Awards 2014 at Hardwick Hall Hotel.

Apologies for the late start but we have been having a few technical problems, but hopefully we're back up and running for the evening.

If you're at the event, tweet us using the hashtag #nebizawards - we'd love to see your pics!

18.40

Here are our business reporters - Karen, Coreena and Robert - looking very smart and already for the big event

18.46

Wow! Doesn't the marquee look fabulous?

18.55

Guests are currently enjoying pre-dinner drinks before the event starts at 7:00pm. Good luck to all the finalists, we hope you have a great evening.

19.00

Hundreds of the region’s top business people have turned out tonight to celebrate the wealth of talent in firms of all sizes, spanning across a huge range of sectors.

The awards attracted a wide range of high-quality entries this year, the cream of which took the top spots in sub-regional finals for Durham and Wearside, Tyneside and Northumberland, and Teesside.

Tonight, the ultimate winners will be chosen in categories ranging from Innovation to Best Creative Business.

19.05

The bar is definitely busy at tonight's awards

19.40

The grand final is underway after welcomes from host Kim Inglis and our MD Russell Borthwick

19.51

Here's a photo of all the finalists listening to Russell Borthwick, Regional Managing Director, Trinity Mirror North East

19.57

The guests have just enjoyed a lovely starter of salmon mousse and salad. I wonder what the main course will be?

20.06

Now we've seen the empty plate here is what the starter actually looked like

20.15

Tonight's guest speaker Monty Halls is keeping everyone entertained with his tales pf adventure from around the globe.

He is a former Royal Marines officer who worked for Nelson Mandela on the peace process in South Africa, Monty left the services in 1996 to pursue a career in leading expeditions.

20.19

Monty Halls' theme for his speech is what makes teams work - definitely a good choice

20.35

Monty Halls had definitely been keeping everyone entertained this evening

20.39

Here is more appreciation for guest speaker Monty Halls

20.43

From reading everyone's tweets it seems that Monty Halls was funny and inspiring and the highlight of his speech was the following fact:

"More people are killed by kicking vending machines each year than sharks." That's good to know!

20.50

Here is guest speaker Monty Halls in action

21.03

According to the guests the food is delicious and it seems they are enjoying tucking into lamb

21.17

The awards ceremony should be staring shortly, but in the meantime here is another photo from the night

21.25

Everyone seems to be enjoying the three course meal this evening, so here is a photo of dessert

21.38

The award ceremony will be staring shortly after David Laws, President of the North East Chamber of Commerce gives a speech

    

And if you need a reminder of the finalists - you can find them here:

 

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer