A landscaping firm which was set up by a man with a wheelbarrow and just £500 in his pocket has received national recognition at an awards ceremony.
Dawson Landscapes, based in Hartlepool, landed three honours in the regional heats of the annual Marshalls Awards which attracts entries from creative gardening and landscaping teams from across the UK.
That triple success saw the Dawson team head to Leeds for the overall national awards ceremony on Friday, and they were celebrating once again after landing the top prize in the Best Use Of Drivesys category for excellence in block paving.
They were also highly commended in the best drive over 70m section, and came third in the contract of the year category.
All three nominations came from a contract which was carried out at a private property in Newcastle.
Managing director Andrew Dawson said: “To win at any awards ceremony is a reflection of the hard work put in by the team, but to take the top award at a national competition is a massive honour for us.
“It was a tough competition and there were some excellent examples of work by companies who were shortlisted alongside us, so it goes without saying we are absolutely delighted.
“It was a fantastic event, and I’m so proud of all the team. To make it even better from a personal point of view, Kevin Keegan was presenting the awards and he is a real hero of mine.
“He came and sat with us after the awards and had a good chat with us. I’m a big Newcastle supporter, and he said his mother-in-law lived in Hartlepool so we had plenty to talk about!”
The success continues a remarkable rise for the firm, which was created by Andrew Dawson in 2000.
Andrew added: “I fell into work as a boilermaker with ICI when I left school, but I’d always had a love of gardening ever since I was a young lad and used to grow dahlias and enter them into shows.
“I worked on the rig yards for 13 years, but I went to night classes to learn a few bits about horticulture as this was something I always had aspirations of getting into.
“When I was paid off, I set up this firm with just a wheelbarrow and £500 to get me up and running. My first job was in Stockton where I turfed a lawn and planted a hedge, and things just grew from there.”
Having built the business up to the point where he has a turnover of just under £1m and leads a team of 16 staff, Andrew hopes the success at the high-profile ceremony will help raise the firm’s profile and lead to further work.
Andrew, who runs the firm from its base in Whitby Street South, added: “We pride ourselves on our service and the excellent reputation which has been built up over the years. The whole team can take an enormous amount of satisfaction to get national recognition.”
• Pictured (above): The Dawson Landscapes team pictured at their base in Hartlepool.