A final word on the Best of Darlington Awards - the prestigious Citizen of the Year award was won by Alan Noble, the founder of Noble Self Drive, who also won the Contribution to Business prize.
Alan's company Northgate plc now stretches across Europe, operating from 30 locations in Spain and approximately 90 sites in the UK, with a modern fleet of nearly 130,000 vehicles employing more than 3.300 people and with a turnover of £525 million.
Northgate's base is firmly in Darlington however, and Alan in his acceptance speech made it clear that would not change. So what did this very successful entrepreneur have to say about doing business in Darlington?
"Darlington is a great place to do business, with a very pro-active local authority, which has been extremely helpful and supportive of Northgate, especially when it was a much smaller company."
"I have always found that if you engage properly with local authorities, they will bend over backwards to help, and Darlington is a wonderful example of that."
"For the continued economic stability of this town, we need new businesses to establish themselves here and take advantage of the significant infrastructure that the town has. So my message to any company - small, medium or large - is; come and see for yourself.."
"I guarantee you will not be disappointed."
A timely corrective to all the cynicism about Darlington's 4-star Council that we read day-in, day-out from the same old characters in Hear All Sides in the Echo.