North Devon Manufacturing Awards 2023 Review

Celebrations and trophies all round, for world-class achievements at the North Devon Manufacturing Awards

Representing Northern Devon’s incredible diversity in manufacturing sectors, from pharmaceuticals, precision engineering and composites to electronics, furniture and textiles, hopeful manufacturers assembled at the Barnstaple Hotel on Thursday 12th October for the annual NDMA awards dinner.

The 24th iteration follows last year’s popular return of the event after a two-year hiatus for the global pandemic. The NDMA was delighted to be supported for the second year running by Petroc as headline sponsor for the evening.

After a welcome drink, nominees, sponsors and guests took their seats in anticipation as celebrity toastmaster, the BBC’s David ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald, opened proceedings before handing over to NDMA Chairman, Tim Puttick.

Recognising young achievers with the Primary School STEM Spaghetti Challenge

This year saw the welcome re-introduction of the Primary School STEM Spaghetti Challenge – an outreach project delivered by STEM ambassadors and sponsored by Bideford-based composites manufacturer, Krempel.

With 11 schools taking part, the project included a total of 842 pupils who formed teams to build a structure made from dried spaghetti and marshmallows to hold an egg as high as possible.

Siobhan Tindal of Krempel presented the prizes to children from runner-up school, Lynton Primary who managed the strongest tower which held 12 eggs, followed by the winners from Southmead Primary School who had created a structure standing 420mm high.

Lianna, AJ, Alice and Fern from Lynton Primary School receive a certificate and a cheque for £75 for building the strongest tower in the 2023 Primary School STEM Challenge
Jacob, Eva, Vaughan and Scarlett from Southmead Primary School receive a certificate and a cheque for £100 for building the tallest tower in the 2023 Primary School STEM Challenge

Gala dinner and prizegiving

After a sumptuous two-course meal, Guest speaker, Rob Leighfield from North Devon & North Cornwall Samaritans, gave an impassioned and captivating speech about the vital service delivered by his colleagues and some sobering statistics around suicide. He finished by explaining the many ways in which people can help and volunteer for the service that has been shown to benefit so many people, before handing the floor back to the NDMA to deliver the main event.

nominees, sponsors and guests took their seats ahead of the awards presentation

Jim Davison, Regional Director of Make UK was introduced on stage to announce the runners-up and the winners of the 10 categories as follows:

The category winners pose with their trophies in celebration at the North Devon Manufacturing Awards

Each winner stepped up to receive one of the coveted, engraved glass trophies made by Dartington Crystal in nearby Great Torrington.

“This evening has been a fantastic showcase for the huge variety and excellent standards of manufacturing that exists in the area, which otherwise goes unrecognised. It’s just a small representation of the potential we have, but by including schools and apprentices, it really helps to maximise the opportunity to communicate with the manufacturing stars of the future and highlight a keystone of the region’s economic prosperity.”

Peter Morrish, Chair, Northern Devon Economy, Innovation & Skills Board & Technology and Customer Support Manager for Condition Monitoring Technology Group

“It’s just fantastic to see the achievements of these companies being recognised. North Devon is fortunate to host an impressive number of manufacturing companies, large and small, whose influence constantly defies boundaries and reaches every part of the world. There’s so much to take away from this event. It’s a great celebration of what takes place within what is a largely hidden industrial landscape and the promise that it holds for those just starting to think about their future.”

Dominie Dunbrook, Place Manager, Economic Development & Regeneration, North Devon Council

Raising funds with charity raffle, thanks to local businesses

The evening culminated with a raffle in aid of North Devon and North Cornwall Samaritans, featuring prizes donated by local businesses, including locally produced hampers and wines, a Makita site radio and a round of golf for four at the exclusive Royal & North Devon golf club. The raffle raised a total of more than £1400!

“This amount will cover three weeks’ running costs and enable us to take 865 calls”

Rob Leighfield, Branch Director thanked participants on behalf of the Samaritans

In the closing remarks, Tim Puttick thanked the judges, sponsors and committee members for their contributions to the evening.

“It has been a challenging year for manufacturers, and for many, the Covid-19 pandemic feels like a minor blip compared to some of the uncertainty we have all had to navigate this year, yet our manufacturing industry continues to flourish and this evening aims to reflect the enormous reach that Northern Devon has throughout the world, of which we can be truly proud”

Tim Puttick, NDMA Chairman & Manufacturing Director for TDK Lambda UK Ltd

There was and excited atmosphere as the evening drew to a close, with many guests continuing to celebrate and discuss the fantastic display of manufacturing achievement.

“Attending the awards gave me immense pride and optimism for the future. Representation for businesses within Torridge was strong and it is great to see so much engagement with younger generations to help them understand the opportunities available to them from an early age. With new investment projects and developments such as the Appledore Clean Maritime Innovation Centre and Floating Offshore Wind (FLOW) on their way, it is definitely an exciting time to be surrounded by such vibrant and capable industrial talent, with the clear message that North Devon and Torridge are places for careers, innovation and success.”

Chris Fuller, Economic Development Manager, Torridge District Council

Special thanks and credit to Reuben Cobb from Petroc College for the award photography

About the “NDMAs”

The North Devon Manufacturing Awards have been running since the 1990s, celebrating the rich industry throughout the region. Nominations are open to manufacturers across North Devon, Torridge and the neighbouring catchment, with an emphasis on inclusivity. Membership of North Devon Manufacturers Association is not required, and equal consideration is given to businesses of all sizes. Over the years, the awards have celebrated micro, SME and large corporations delivering economic benefit to Northern Devon whilst often operating on a national or global stage, within a surprising range of industries and applications. If you’re interested in getting involved, entering or sponsoring next year’s awards, or would like more information about joining NDMA, please get in touch via the website at ndma.org.uk.

Many thanks to our 2023 sponsors: