It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for… with fierce competition across 16 categories, the winners of the SoGlos Gloucestershire Lifestyle Awards 2021 have been revealed – representing the crème de la crème of Gloucestershire’s thriving lifestyle sector.
Following a thrilling nomination phase earlier this year, which saw more than 250 businesses put themselves forward for a SGGLA in 2021, only the top 125 made the shortlist and went through to the voting stage – when SoGlos readers were invited to choose their favourites.
The winners of the SoGlos Gloucestershire Lifestyle Awards 2021 were finally revealed for the first time on Thursday 21 October 2021, when SGGLA returned to its glitzy real-life format at Cheltenham Ladies’ College for a special evening of networking, drinks, supper and celebration, compered by Gloucestershire reporter for BBC Points West, Steve Knibbs.
SoGlos readers were also encouraged to raise a glass from home, as the live reveal was streamed through Facebook Live – and you can relive the action via facebook.com/soglos.
‘Thank you so much to our headline sponsor, Willans, our category sponsors, partners and the SoGlos team for making the real life return of SGGLA such a phenomenal success. It was very important that we did the lifestyle sector justice following such a difficult 20 months, and I’m confident we did just that,’ said James Fyrne, SoGlos managing director.
‘Congratulations to all of this year’s winners, highly commended businesses and finalists, you should be really proud of being recognised as part of Gloucestershire’s biggest awards.’
Sponsored by 16i – 16i.co.uk
Winner: Gloucester Cathedral
With regular family and cultural events, blockbuster filming locations and arguably the most gorgeous architecture in the county, it’s no surprise that the iconic Gloucester Cathedral has once again scooped the top spot for SGGLA Cultural Venue of the Year in 2021.
Sonia Bielaszewska, philanthropy manager at Gloucester Cathedral, said: ‘The last 18 months has been so challenging for us – and for everyone. But it has been great to be able to open and give people something to enjoy. To win this award is amazing.’ Ellie Fells, digital communications officer, added: ‘Our staff have worked so hard throughout, so this is for them.’
Highly commended: Dean Forest Railway
Sponsored by The King’s School – thekingsschool.co.uk
Winner: WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre
Home to all kinds of wetland wildlife, interactive exhibits and well-loved by families all over Gloucestershire, SoGlos readers have chosen WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre as their SGGLA Family Day Out of the Year for 2021.
Gary Haseley-Nejrup, general manager, said: ‘We are delighted to have won. We have invested a lot at Slimbridge and have some wonderful family attractions. It’s brilliant to be back open, and great to be recognised like this by the people of Gloucestershire.’
Highly commended: Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park
Sponsored by Hazlewoods – hazlewoods.co.uk/sectors/charities
Winner: The King’s School
Providing an outstanding education from within the grounds of Gloucester Cathedral – with an impressive new Sixth Form Centre that opened this year, too – The King’s School in Gloucester has won SGGLA Independent School of the Year for 2021 for the second year running.
Claire Card, marketing and communications manager at The King’s School, said: ‘We are the current holders of this award, but we’re really pleased and proud to win again. I think this is testament to the hard work of our staff through a difficult 18 months and the incredible support we have had through that time from parents.’
Highly commended: Berkhampstead School
Sponsored by Nuffield Health – nuffieldhealth.com/cheltenham
Winner: Everyman Theatre
Hosting a diverse programme of West End productions, famous comedians and live music events, not to mention its annual panto, Cheltenham’s beloved Everyman Theatre has once again stolen the show, taking home SGGLA Live Entertainment Venue of the Year 2021.
David Allen, head of sales and marketing, said: ‘This is the fourth year we have won this, but I think this is a special one. It’s been a tough year, but I think this award says so much about the people who support us and who we continue to be there for.’
Highly commended: Cheltenham Town Hall
Sponsored by Personal Best – personalbeststudio.co.uk
Winner: Sandford Parks Lido
From aqua-based fitness classes to making a splash in the children’s pool and, of course, the annual dog swim, Sandford Parks Lido offers a great day out in Cheltenham – with SoGlos readers crowning it their SGGLA Sporting Venue of the Year 2021 in what was one of the biggest surprises of the evening.
Fabia Garau, general manager of Sandford Parks Lido, said: ‘The community of Sandford Parks Lido is the essence of us. They are why we’re here. This win is for them and because of them. We exist for that community and thank them for voting for us like this.’
Highly commended: Cheltenham Racecourse
Sponsored by Guano Crazy Printing – gcprinting.co.uk
Winner: Gloucester Guildhall
Championing local musicians and performers as well as inviting international superstars to the stage in its atmospheric Grade II listed building, Gloucester Guildhall takes home the title of SGGLA Live Music Venue of the Year 2021 for the second year in a row.
Elaine Wyatt, of Gloucester Guildhall, said: ‘To win is amazing! This is a credit to our staff, it’s for them. It’s great to see people coming back to the venue now and to be able to give them a programme they want.’
Highly commended: The Outdoor Inn
Sponsored by The Mortgage Brain – themortgagebrain.net
Winner: KIBOU Japanese Kitchen & Bar
Serving up incredible Japanese cuisine from sushi to sake at its vibrant day-to-night eatery in Cheltenham, the coveted SGGLA Restaurant of the Year 2021 award goes to KIBOU Japanese Kitchen & Bar.
Jason Davies, of KIBOU, said: ‘Customers are our number one concern. So to be voted for by them means everything.’ KIBOU’s Justin Davies added: ‘And this is for our staff. They have given so much and continue to do so during the most difficult time for us. This is for them.’
Highly commended: No. 131
Sponsored by Gillman’s – gillmans.co.uk
Winner: Wholly Gelato
Artisan ice cream producer, Wholly Gelato, offers a tasty choice of gelato flavours, made from the milk of its very own cows – and this year, SoGlos readers have voted it their SGGLA Food / Drink Producer of the Year 2021.
Will Lee, of Wholly Gelato, said: ‘We are just a hard working family farm, and to win something like this is just great for us. That our customers voted for us makes us incredibly happy – that they like what we do, that they’re interested and care about farming like we do.’
Highly commended: Gloucester Brewery
Sponsored by Neptune Rum – neptunerum.com
Winner: The Suffolk Arms
Celebrated for its Sunday lunches, well-stocked bar and home-from-home atmosphere in a gorgeous Grade II listed setting, The Suffolk Arms in Cheltenham snaps up the SGGLA for Pub / Bar of the Year 2021.
Ben Merrylees, of The Suffolk Arms, said: ‘I have worked for a lot of head chefs, but to work for such a nice bloke like Mark Gray, and to know our customers like what everyone at Suffolk Arms does enough to vote for us – it’s just brilliant.’
Highly commended: Café Rene
Sponsored by Roberts Limbrick – robertslimbrick.com
Winner: Cowley Manor
With its boutique bedrooms, award-winning C-Side Spa and rolling Cotswold grounds, plus dog-friendly rooms for furry guests, Cowley Manor is the worthy winner of SGGLA Hotel of the Year 2021.
Stuart Hodges, general manager at Cowley Manor, said: ‘It has been a difficult 18 months of hard work from all of the staff to get through – so to be recognised like this is really great.’
Highly commended: Queens Hotel Cheltenham
Sponsored by Severn Wye Energy Agency – severnwye.org.uk
Winner: Made in Stroud
Bringing a unique shopping experience that showcases handmade treasures, beauty and fashion from designer-makers in the Stroud area, the SGGLA for Independent Shop of the Year 2021 goes to Made in Stroud.
Claire Gerbrands, of Made in Stroud, said: ‘I can’t believe we won this for the third time. We know that it is our customers who have voted for us and that means a lot. It is brilliant.’
Highly commended: Favourite Beers
Sponsored by Visit Gloucestershire – visit-gloucestershire.uk
Winner: Gloucester Quays
Offering major discounts on popular brands like Barbour, Levi’s and Ted Baker, and home to a host of restaurants, a cinema and regular markets, Gloucester Quays has been chosen by SoGlos readers as their SGGLA Shopping Destination of the Year 2021.
Neil Thomas, of Gloucester Quays, said: ‘In the current climate, to win this makes us very happy. To know our customers and the people of Gloucestershire voted for us is fantastic. We would like to say ‘thank you’ to them for their support.’
Highly commended: John Lewis Cheltenham
Sponsored by Gloucester Carpet Outlet – gloucestercarpetoutlet.co.uk
Winner: CLC Health & Fitness Centre
Sport-loving locals can try everything from swimming to free-weights, as well as high-energy fitness classes and yoga flows at CLC Health & Fitness Centre at Cheltenham Ladies’ College – our SGGLA Health/Beauty Business of the Year 2021.
Heath Gunter, of CLC Health & Fitness Centre, said: ‘It’s just fantastic to win this again. It has been such a tough year for the leisure industry and our staff have been fantastic in making the centre a place people really enjoy coming to.’
Highly commended: The Beehive Hair Lounge
Sponsored by Barrington Decorators – barringtondecorators.com
Winner: Ellenborough Park
An exquisite 15th century country estate with picture-perfect Cotswold views, Ellenborough Park stands out for couples looking to get hitched, with SoGlos readers voting it their SGGLA Wedding Venue of the Year 2021.
Marwan Hemchaoui, general manager of Ellenborough Park, said: ‘Hospitality has had a horrid time over the last 18 months. It’s wonderful to see these awards and even better to win one knowing it has been voted for by the public. We are delighted!’
Highly commended: Sudeley Castle & Gardens
Sponsored by Move Property Sales & Lettings – move.uk.net
Winner: Cheltenham Literature Festival
Back in full swing in 2021 with a diverse programme of live and online events; celebrity speakers; and showstopping performances, the famous Cheltenham Literature Festival takes the top spot as SGGLA Event of the Year 2021.
Bairbre Lloyd, PR and communications manager at Cheltenham Festivals, said: ‘This is amazing. It’s the people of Gloucestershire giving this award, so this means an incredible amount to the whole team. We have worked really hard this year – so ‘thank you’ to them, and ‘thank you’ to SoGlos.’
Highly commended: Giffords Circus
Sponsored by Hooray Recruitment – hoorayworks.co.uk
Winner: Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice
As the only unit for specialist palliative care in Gloucestershire, Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice provides expert inpatient care, rehabilitation, Hospice at Home services and family and bereavement support – helping patients and their families to live the best possible lives they can. We’re honoured to call them our SGGLA Charity of the Year 2021, as voted for by SoGlos readers.
Elise Hoadley, hospice director at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, said: ‘We are totally blown away. To know we have the love of the people of Gloucestershire is wonderful. It is a privilege to serve them during a time when they really need us.’
Highly commended: Gloucestershire Animal Welfare Association and Cheltenham Animal Shelter
Sponsored by Willans LLP solicitors – willans.co.uk
Winner: Gloucester Cathedral
Handpicked by headline sponsor Willans LLP solicitors from all winners on the night, Gloucester Cathedral takes the title of SGGLA Business of the Year 2021.
Describing the iconic attraction as ‘such an established and prestigious place’, Willans said: ‘This winner has shown real resilience through the pandemic and was a firm favourite to win the public vote by miles. We couldn’t think of a better winner of winners for SGGLA 2021.’
Sonia Bielaszewska, development officer at Gloucester Cathedral, said: ‘We are speechless. There are so many amazing businesses here in this room. To know people thought we were worthy is incredible and a great feeling.’ With Ellie Fells adding: ‘We are really proud just to be along so many great businesses – and delighted to have won.’
To find out more about sponsorship and partnership opportunities for SSGLA 2022, and the chance to associate your brand with Gloucestershire’s biggest awards, contact SoGlos’s Advertising Hub at email@example.com or call (01242) 210330.
For more information, visit soglos.com/awards-lifestyle.
By Annabel Lammas
Thursday 21 October 2021
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