A NON-LEAGUE football club has beaten hundreds of nominated businesses to be named as the best in Havant.
Havant & Waterlooville FC was the overall winner of MP Alan Mak’s third Havant Small Business Awards, which took place on Friday.
The Hawks have enjoyed success on and off the pitch in recent years, achieving back-to-back promotions to reach the highest level of the non-league pyramid and growing a thriving commercial business with the Westleigh pub, which won the Best Pub Award.
The club is also well known for its work in Leigh Park through the Hawks in the Community programme, providing outreach and sporting activities for young people.
Businesses from across the Havant constituency were recognised in 12 categories at prize-giving ceremony at South Downs College.
The awards received a record number of nominations from the public, with more than 500 local business put forward.
Mr Mak said: ‘Backing our local businesses and the hardworking people behind them is a top priority for me.
‘The awards celebrated some of the best businesses from across the Havant constituency for a third year.
‘The Hawks were deserving winners, with the Westleigh growing in popularity as a year-round venue, and the team’s efforts on the pitch galvanising the whole local community.
‘With leadership from chairman Derek Pope, general manager Adi Aymes and club manager Lee Bradbury, they are role models for how a community football club should operate.’
Scott Armstrong, bar manager of the Westleigh, said: ‘I’m delighted The Westleigh - the beating heart of the Hawks - won Alan Mak’s top business award after some great performances from our staff and players on and off the pitch.
‘We’re proud to be at the heart of the community.’
On the night, aside from the awards, a charity raffle raised more than £500 for the Southern Domestic Abuse Service and the Royal British Legion.
Mike Gaston, principal of HSDC, said: ‘Havant & South Downs College was once again delighted to host the a wards, which were an opportunity to remember the vital role that small businesses make to our community both from a business point of view and in creating community cohesion.’
Winner: The Westleigh
Runners-up: The Lifeboat Inn, Ralph's Wine, Gin and Tapas Bar, The Leigh Park Trade Union Working Men's Club
Best Family Business
Winner: Hayling Cycles
Runners-up: Pallant House Play Café, Bentley Walker
Winner: Le Petit Pain
Runners-up: Mother Kelly's Fish and Chips, Whistlers Fish & Chips, Coastguard Café
Best Street Vendor or Home Based Business
Winner: Harry's Sausages
Runners-up: Look Foxy, Happy Tailz
Best Health and Beauty Business
Winner: DeBeaut By Della and Donna
Runners-up: The Beauty Studio, Kuru Hair, Beauty & Training Studio
Winner: The Spring Arts & Heritage Centre
Runners-up: Ruby's Tearoom, Boswells Café
Winner: Chef Sam@33
Runners-up: Ferry Boat Inn, The Wheelwright's Arms
Best New Business
Winner: Southern Energy Training Academy (SEATUK)
Runner-up: Brayber Group Recruitment, Ginga Auto Body Repairs
Best Local Tradesperson
Winner: Ginga Auto Body Repairs
Runner-up: Grate Fyres
Best Contribution to the Community
Winner: Angel Radio
Runners-up: Southern Energy Training Academy (SEATUK), Jacqui Unal
Winner: Connor Duffy (Brayber Group Recruitment)
Business Personality of the Year
Winner: Kelly Edney (Dust Dolly)
Runner-up: Nerine Bloomfield Strawn - Been Nerined