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Courier Business Awards 2019: Our business of the year is revealed

A Fife-based timber company took home the top award at this year’s glittering Courier Business Awards ceremony.

James Donaldson & Sons was announced as Business of the Year at the black-tie event attended by more than 800 guests in Dundee.

The sixth generation family firm has grown from humble beginnings in Tayport in 1860 to be one of the UK’s largest timber firms.

Host Phill Jupitus on stage at the Apex Hotel.

The company, which has its headquarters in Glenrothes, had earlier won Family Business of the Year.

The award was presented by David Smith, managing partner of main event sponsors MHA Henderson Loggie.

For more coverage of the 2019 Courier Business Awards, see our special 16-page supplement on Monday

He said: “Our winner tonight is a heritage, family business which quietly but effectively goes about its business and is one of Courier Country’s largest and most important employers.

“Now a sixth generation family concern, our business of the year started in Tayport during the reign of Queen Victoria.

“It survived two World Wars, it celebrated its centenary before man walked on the moon and it has thrived during the digital revolution.

“As it prepares to mark its 160th anniversary in 2020, this business remains at the forefront of timber processing and secondary manufacturing in the UK.”

IN PICTURES: Hundreds soak up the atmosphere at 2019 Courier Business Awards

This year’s ceremony at the Apex City Quay Hotel was hosted by Never Mind The Buzzcocks star Phill Jupitus and Scots comedian Fred MacAulay.

A total of 24 awards were presented at the annual awards, which were being held for the seventh time.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney presented the night’s first award – a special Rising Star trophy to nine-year-old Amelia Milton, whose Smelleez soap company is about to go into its third year of trading.

Among the firms recognised were Balhousie Care Group which won the Growth category, NCR which triumphed in the Design & Innovation category and Baker Hughes which won the Manufacturing prize.

Nathan Pyne-Carter of ACE Aquatec won the coveted Entrepreneur of the Year award and V&A Dundee was recognised for the Tourism & Hospitality award.

Other winners included Elite Audio, J&D Wilkie Group, Konglomerate Games, Dover Fueling Solutions and Castle Water.

The final award of the evening – for Outstanding Contribution – was awarded to Perthshire businessman Morris Leslie whose interests include plant hire and vehicle auction businesses.

Presenting the award, DC Thomson Media’s head of newspapers Richard Neville said: “Our winner this year is a businessman who began his entrepreneurial journey 45 years ago when he established his own company on a Perthshire farm.

“His vision was to buy and sell construction equipment and, such was the success of that fledgling operation, the business soon expanded beyond local boundaries.

“In 1980, his company moved into the plant hire sector and the purchase of the disused Errol Airfield in 1988 prompted significant expansion into the plant auctioneering business.

“Under his steerage, his self-titled group went on to buy Perth Airport and turn it into a vibrant hub for business in the area.

“The plant hire and sale business’ national network has continued to expand in recent years and is now one of the largest construction equipment providers operating from 15 locations across the UK. The plant sales business trades globally trading with over 50 countries a year.

“However, our winner’s contribution does not end with his business success.

“A supporter of several charities, his unwavering backing for the Scottish Charity Air Ambulance – which is based at Perth Airport – has helped save lives across Scotland.”

Our winners


Apprentice of the Year

Jamie Craig


Design and Innovation





Enterprise in Education

Konglomerate Games


Entrepreneur of the Year

Nathan Pyne-Carter



Dover Fueling Solutions



Perthshire: Crieff Hydro Hotel
Angus: J&D Wilkie Group
Fife and Overall: James Donaldson & Son
Dundee: Scott Brothers Butchers



Hyper Luminal Games



Balhousie Care Group


Baker Hughes



Assai Records


Rising Star

Amelia Milton, Smelleez


Science and Technology

ACE Aquatec



Castle Water



Elite Audio


Social Impact

Hillcrest Futures


Tourism and Hospitality

V&A Dundee



TEXO Group



Business of the Year

James Donaldson & Sons

Oustanding Contribution

Morris Leslie