The head of one of Lancashire’s best-known food firms has hailed the quality of applicants to this year’s Be Inspired Business Awards (BIBAs).

John Carr, of Grandma Singletons which has been producing cheese in the county for more than 70 years, said the entries for the 18 prizes which are up for grabs this year highlighted the quality the county has throughout its sectors.

It has categories including Manufacturer of the Year and Leisure Business of the Year, as well as prizes for individuals including Business Woman of the Year and Business Person of the Year.

The organisers, the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, confirmed it had received entries from across the county for its awards which will be handed out at a star-studded ceremony in September.

Mr Carr said: “The BIBAs is the brightest spotlight for businesses and individuals in Lancashire and it is fantastic to see such a wealth of talent in the running for its awards this year.

“I have no doubt the judging panels, which have been hand-picked to select the winners of each category, will find a worthy winner among them and I wish everyone the very best and hope they enjoy the process.

“Grandma Singletons has been producing the finest traditional cheese in Lancashire since 1934 and we have been part of the business community of the county ever since, so to be involved in such a celebration such as the BIBAs is something we are very excited about.”

The North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce is now checking the eligibility of every category before the awards’ judging panels select the entries which will go through to the first round of interviews which start on May 16.

Those selected as finalists in the categories will then host visits from the judges to their business premises as part of the BIBAs unique ‘Judges on Tour’ second round of interviews from June 20 before the winners are decided.

The awards will be handed out at a star-studded ceremony held at the iconic Blackpool Tower Ballroom on Friday, September 16.

In 2015, Ian Hall, the chairman of Preston-based retail group James Hall and Son, collected the lifetime achievement prize, Lancastrian of the Year, when the BIBAs handed out its prizes in front of a sell-out crowd at the Blackpool Tower in September.

Social enterprise Jobs Friends and Houses CIC, which works with ex-offenders, won its Most Inspiring Business of the Year prize and individual prizes went to Phil Lawson of Skelmersdale’s Virtue Technologies, who won Entrepreneur of the Year and Louise Wilkinson, who runs Nelson-based Lomeshaye Village Day Nursery, who was named Business Woman of the Year.