The Harrogate Excellence in Business Awards are judged independently by a selected panel of business experts.

Jacqui Hall, Chair of the CBI Yorkshire & the Humber and President of CNG Ltd 

Jacqui Hall is President of CNG Ltd, a leading UK energy supplier, but more importantly, a stand out leader for excellence in customer service.


The CNG ethos is to make energy simple, to deliver outstanding service that makes things easy for customers and remove all that long-standing negativity from the industry.

Jacqui knows her stuff, having started as an Office Manager, she went on to learn about the complexities of supply and transportation, progressing through the ranks and driving CNG to become one of the industry’s most stand-out businesses. Her accolades over the years comprise a multitude of awards as an employer and for her personal contribution and approach to business in the region including: Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year – Transformational Leader (Yorkshire region), Forward Ladies Corporate Leader (National), IoD Yorkshire and North East Large Business Director of the Year and Barclays Yorkshire Woman of the Year – Large Business.

As one of only a few women leading in the energy sector, Jacqui is passionate about bettering the industry. She is an Entrepreneur in Residence for Connect Yorkshire and continues to lend her expertise at many industry events and engagements. An avid supporter and champion of other women in business, Jacqui celebrates the diverse opportunities the energy sector can offer and how much can be achieved by doing the right thing in business. 

Matthew Stamford- Director of Verity Frearson

Matthew Stamford has lived in Harrogate since the tender of age of 4. Educated locally, he then started his working career with a national agency before moving to the opposite side of Albert Street and joining Verity Frearson –  some 20 years ago. Having progressed through the ranks to Director level in 2010, Matthew is now the senior partner of the agency and oversees its day-to-day running. Known for his straight forward and honest advice, he has sold 1,000s of homes whilst supporting many charitable and community events across this district . He has a clear passion and drive for property and has led the agency to being a market leader in its sector. Recent agency wins for Verity Frearson include being awarded the prestigious Gold Trusted service award by independent review provider Feefo and, they were also announced as winner in the Best Agency Guide , which places the company in the top 3% of all estate agents in the country.

Away from work Matthew spends time relaxing with his family, wife Nicola and 7 year old son, Henry .

James Verity – Director of Verity Frearson

After studying Real Estate Management at university, James Verity started his property career working for an international commercial surveying firm. He qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in 2008. 

In 2010 James returned to his home town of Harrogate and worked alongside his father at Verity Frearson, turning his hand to residential property. Now a director, James runs the agency, alongside fellow Director Matthew Stamford. He has a wealth of experience dealing with all residential property matters and has gained a reputation of giving professional, honest advice which has helped to grow both the sales and lettings departments.

When he is not working or chasing round after his two young children, James is an enthusiastic supporter of local charities and organisations both through his work at Verity Frearson and through his position as a trustee of local homeless charity, the Harrogate Homeless Project. 

Mark Sanderson- Director of Si Recruitment

Mark Sanderson is a Director of Si Recruitment, a Harrogate based recruitment agency that has successfully worked closely with hundreds of local and regional business since its inception in 2004. Mark has helped judge this category for over 10 years and as such has a wealth of experience to draw on when it comes to choosing a deserved winner.


Jane Chamberlain, Director Cicada Communications

Jane is a director at Cicada Communications, a PR and marketing communications agency based in Harrogate. Cicada provides PR, content generation, event management and social media services to B2B and B2C clients. Prior to joining Cicada, Jane was communications manager at Deliciously Yorkshire, the Regional Food Group for Yorkshire and Humber.


Ryan Harrison- Head of Private Clients at Leathers

Ryan heads Leathers private client team and handles the whole spectrum of private client tax matters, acting for clients across the UK and internationally. As A Chartered Tax Advisor, he advises clients in relation to all aspects of their personal tax affairs, particularly high net worth individuals, families and entrepreneurs. Having been part of the Leathers team for over 13 years, Ryan has established a broad network of clients and professional advisors in the North East and London and is now based in Yorkshire to spearhead the development of the firm there.

Mike Patterson- Director at Berwins Solicitors

Mike is head of Berwins’ industry accredited commercial team. A lawyer with almost 15 years’ experience, he routinely advises businesses and directors on matters relating to HR and employment. 


Oliver Berry- Owner & Director at Impression Recruitment

Oliver has a wealth of experience within both HR and recruitment. He has recruited high volume permanent and temporary staff across both the private and public sectors globally. His diverse experience enables him to understand client’s and candidate’s goals effectively.

Oliver has a natural ability with people, great listening skills with the passion to deliver. He is idealistic and strives for the win win situation every time. Professional, personable and passionate, Oliver is thrilled to be part of the venture that is impression!

Natalie Tam- Sales and Marketing Manager of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society

Natalie Tam is the Sales and Marketing Manager of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society which organises the Great Yorkshire Show. The Show is the Society’s flagship event held over three days in July but this registered charity does so much more! Natalie is also responsible for overseeing the sales and marketing of the Showground’s family of businesses: Fodder, Yorkshire Event Centre, Pavilions of Harrogate and Harrogate Caravan Park which run throughout the year. Profits made by all of these goes back to the charitable work of the Society which can be anything from organising Countryside Days for 6000 primary school children to farmer health checks which may save a life.


Howard Matthews – Senior Partner – Howard Matthews Partnership

Howard is the Senior Partner of Howard Matthews Partnership Chartered Accountants and Chartered Tax Advisors.

The firm moved to Harrogate in 1995 and is now one of the leading firms in Harrogate and is highly respected in the business community.

They offer accounts, audit, taxation and business advice to a wide range of businesses and individuals.

Peter Banks- Managing Director Rudding Park

Peter Banks considers hospitality as a way of life. Under Peter’s leadership Rudding Park has demonstrated consistent, organic growth from 15 employees and £1.5M turnover to 350 employees and £21M turnover. This success has been acknowledged over the years with an array of awards, including Hotel Spa of the Year, (AA Hospitality Excellence Awards 2019), Hotel of the Year (Cateys 2019) and the Accessibility Award (Cateys 2018).