The key winner of the 12th Solihull Chamber awards is Melanie Palmer, who is the director of the town’s Business Improvement District (BID). Melanie was named ‘Solihull Business Person of the Year’ at the awards, which took place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole last Friday.

Other winners were: Hannah Keyte, of John Lewis (Young Achiever); Eileen Fegan, of Solihull Health Check Clinic (Customer Care); Beth Williams, Paragon Group (Career Development); Graeme Bryant, of Hilton Birmingham Metropole (Career Development); Asa Walker, of NC Creative (Small Business of the Year) and Steve Quick, of Hogarths (Best Use of Innovation).

Matt Dredger of Borroclub was awarded a special award in the ‘Best Use of Innovation’ category, as an emerging business of the year.

Helen Varden of Admin Business Solutions was another special award winner, in the ‘Outstanding Employee’ category, as there was so little between her entry and those finishing second and third (Chris Howland of Paragon and Petra Yeomans of John Lewis.

Other runners up were Anthony Jones (Arup) and Jack Chapman (Arthur Marsh Insurance Brokers), both ‘Young Achiever’; Harry Griffiths (Metropole) and Tina Brooks (John Lewis), both ‘Career Development’.

The awards were attended by the biggest ever audience in the event’s history, and Solihull Chamber director Jane Jackson said: “It is one of our favourite events of the year. It has a feel good factor – people can’t necessarily reward their staff at the moment, and this is recognition of the work they do.

“We couldn’t do the awards without the help of people who give their services for free, including CMA Video (filming), NC Creative (live social media updates), Arden School Orchestra, and our toastmaster, Richard Jackson.

She added that winner Melanie Palmer had a ‘passion’ for Solihull and said: “If she was a stick of rock, she would have Solihull written all the way through her.”

Melanie joined the BID in 2011 as project co-ordinator and two years later was named manager. She has masterminded the renewal of the BID for a further five years, during which time it will promote and showcase the best that the town centre has to offer.