Gallery Direct are officially the 2017 Swale Business of the Year

Written by Wesley Horan on 25th September 2017

After what was described by judges as “the most competitive year ever for the Swale Business Awards”, Sittingbourne’s Gallery Direct were named the 2017 Swale Business of the Year.


The 88-strong company, which has been a stalwart of the local business community for 44 years, were also the recipients of a £1,000 cheque for winning.


The 2017 awards took place at The BarnYard on 22nd September, where guests enjoyed a delectable three-course meal prior to the announcement of this year’s winners, which was in turn followed by drinks and dancing. The awards themselves were presided over by compere by Paul Andrews, and there was a charity raffle that raised a grand total of £1,022 for the Swale Youth Development Fund.


Kieran Aldous, Head of Operations at Gallery Direct spoke about how he felt to see his business be named the Swale Business of the Year: “We are absolutely delighted to win the Swale Business of the Year award tonight. This is for all of our staff and all of their hard work over the last 12 months. It’s an absolute credit to them that the company is in this position right now.”


There were several other awards on the night, including the first ever Entrepreneur of the Year Award, which went to Angela Croall of AngelsLocks. She discussed how it felt to take home the inaugural trophy in this category: “I’m really proud to have been chosen as the first Swale Entrepreneur of the Year. I think sometimes people don’t think about everything that goes into running a business, such as all the planning and the mind-set that you have to be in all the time when you’re trying to grow and develop your business, so I was just so proud to be recognised.”


The other winners from the night were:

  • Swale Small Business of the Year - William Whitmey Independent Funeral Directors
  • Faversham Business of the Year - The Great Outdoor Gym Company
  • Sheppey Business of the Year - Kent Catering Service
  • Sittingbourne Business of the Year - Bennett Opie
  • Employer of the Year - Burden Bros Agri
  • Customer Services and Commitment Award - The Harmony Therapy Trust
  • Judges’ Special Award - D-Dee’s Day Nursery


Liz Jordan, Chair of the Awards spoke about how difficult the judges had found selecting the winners: “This is the eleventh year of the awards and I think this year, perhaps more so than any other, making it through to the finals of the awards is a significant achievement for any business. I truly believe that the Swale Business Awards highlight the best and brightest in our borough, and as such I would like to take this opportunity to extend my congratulations to Gallery Direct for claiming the coveted title of Swale Business of the Year. I would also like to pass my congratulations on to all of this year’s winners. None of tonight’s awards would be possible without the continued support of our sponsors, so I would like to offer them my heartfelt thanks for ensuring that our eleventh year was our most successful ever.”


Handelsbanken and Swale Means Business are the principal sponsors of the 2017 Swale Business Awards. The 2017 Swale Business Awards are sponsored by Checkmate, Cook Trading, CS One Design, Enterprise Centres, George Webb Finn, JH Property Management, Kent Messenger, Kent Science Park, Macknade Fine Foods, Peel Ports - Medway, Shepherd Neame, Swale Borough Council, The Barnyard, The University of Greenwich, Thomson Snell & Passmore and UHY Hacker Young.


Sponsoring the Swale Business Awards is an incredible way to raise your profile in the local business community. If you would like to help make the 2018 awards possible by getting involved as a sponsor, please email or call Liz Jordan on 01795 475 363.


You can view all of the photos from the night here.

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