Celebration for two Shropshire companies at Rural Business Awards

Two Shropshire companies who work hand-in-hand for clients across the country have picked up the top two honours in the same category at a prestigious regional awards ceremony.

Vicky Stone and Ben Stone, of the Visual Works, with award presenter Peter Snodgrass, of Shakespeare Martineau, and Helen Culshaw, James Keeney-Wilson, Bethan Evans, Alex Culshaw and Lauren Quayle, of Ascendancy Internet Marketing
Vicky Stone and Ben Stone, of the Visual Works, with award presenter Peter Snodgrass, of Shakespeare Martineau, and Helen Culshaw, James Keeney-Wilson, Bethan Evans, Alex Culshaw and Lauren Quayle, of Ascendancy Internet Marketing

The Visual Works, based at Stanton Lacy, near Ludlow, won the Best Rural Digital, Communications or Media Business Award 2019 and Ascendancy Internet Marketing, Shifnal, scooped the runner-up trophy – sparking a double celebration at the Rural Business Awards.

The awards, held in partnership with Amazon, are now in their fifth year of celebrating the success of businesses across the UK’s rural economy and the Midlands regional ceremony was held at the University of Nottingham.

The Visual Works has been helping companies of all sizes create their brands and market them across all mediums for almost 25 years.

Founder Ben Stone said: “Our countryside location has always informed the values that underpin how we operate.

“We are fortunate to have worked with numerous sizable organisations at a national and international level, such as Pininfarina, The Little Princess Trust, Wandsworth Fringe Festival and The Wall Street Journal.

“Our aim is to bring back these experiences and transfer the knowledge that we have gained to the amazing businesses that exist on our doorstep – we are dedicated to offering local companies the complete package by delivering visual impact, technical expertise and strategic marketing knowledge.

“We are over the moon about winning the award – we celebrate out 25th Anniversary in January so this is a great way to spring into our 25th year.”

The team at Ascendancy, launched in the county 15 years ago, helps firms strengthen their business through a unique integrated approach to search engine optimisation and digital marketing. The firm is one of only around 300 agencies to hold Google Premier Partner Status, making them one of the best agencies in Europe.

Helen Culshaw, Ascendancy founder, said: “The regional finals were a great experience and it was wonderful to see two Shropshire companies dominate in this particular category.

“We were really pleased to finish runner-up in the face of some serious competition from across the Midlands and were absolutely delighted to see The Visual Works take the top honour. If we had to lose out to someone, it couldn’t really have been any better!

“We have worked closely with The Visual Works on a number of collaborations – it was brilliant to see them being announced as the winner and turned out to be something of a double celebration. The Visual Works now progress to the national finals and we wish them the best of luck for that.

“The recognition of being shortlisted was a tribute to all the hard work and dedication our staff always put in for the benefit of our clients. The award category recognised businesses that work hard to support, facilitate and promote business with cutting-edge technology combined with a passion for serving the local community. Something Ascendancy is totally committed to.”

Shropshire stood out as a county in this year’s Rural Business Awards with 18 out of 68 finalists from the Midlands being shortlisted.

The day also saw Shropshire winners crowned in the Best Rural Social Enterprise, Charity or Community Project category with The Pheasant at Neenton scooping the award and the Best Rural Food and Drink Business category with Butterbelle taking the top spot and Ludlow Farmshop crowned runner up.

Buildwas-based Wild Survivor also walked away with a runner up trophy in the Best Rural Recreational or Outdoor Pursuits Business.

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