THE South’s finest firms were celebrated in style at the South Coast Business Awards 2016.

The Hilton at the Ageas Bowl hosted an evening of black tie glamour as eight of Hampshire’s best businesses received awards.

Held by the Daily Echo in association with Trethowans and in partnership with Business South, Destination Southampton and Wave 105, 300 people turned out to see this year’s winners receive their accolades.

Southampton marine interior fit-out and refurbishment specialists Trimline were crowned as South Coast Business of the Year 2016, with company chairman Gary Oliver saying the award ‘meant the world’.

“We are 51 years old and we have been in the town for a long time and to be recognised like this is just fantastic.”

The event was co-hosted by Daily Echo editor-in-chief Ian Murray and comedian Dominic Holland.

The award-winning comic reduced the audience to fits of laughter in a half-hour set that ended with the story of how his son Tom went from a budding young dancer to starring in Billy Elliot in the West End and Spider Man in the recent blockbuster Captain America: Civil War.

Speaking to the Daily Echo after the event, he said: “It’s been a really nice atmosphere, I love the fact it’s really local and collegiate, I love the investment everyone has got in each other’s success and I have really enjoyed doing it.”

Mr Murray said: “It has been another wonderful evening with some well deserved winners.

“The standards were very high and the event was very well supported.”

And Simon Rhodes of Trethowans, who also had the audience in stitches with a series of football anecdotes including Stuart Pearce’s ‘I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel’ quote, added: “It’s been another fantastic celebration of south coast business and of the energy, entrepreneurship and hard work that makes this region so successful – long may it continue.”

South Coast Business Awards 2016 winners:

Taylor Made Computer Solutions Best Use of Technology: Bluebird Care

British American Tobacco Commitment to the Region: Silver Lining Convergence

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year: Dynamite Recruitment Solutions

Winchester Motor Company/Skoda Customer Service: Creatiques Bridal Services

Lakesmere Growth Business of the Year: STR Group

Southampton City Council Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Chris Phillips of Just Develop It

Smith & Williamson Best International Performance: Harwin Europe

Trethowans Overall Winner’s Award: Trimline