A TEESSIDE-BORN business has won a national award for its financial protection services.

Bespoke Financial, based at Gloucester House, Stockton-on-Tees, attended a prestigious awards event in Birmingham where they scooped the title of Number One Protection Firm.

The event, held at the Vox centre on January 31, was hosted by protection network PRIMIS, which Bespoke Financial are part of, and was attended by over 800 guests from firms across the country.

Staff member Darren Roulston was also crowned number one protection adviser.

Bespoke Financial was started up by Middlesbrough-born Lee Flanagan four years ago.

Its early days were spent as a small insurance broker in Middlesbrough with just three members of staff.

Now employing 35 people and still growing, the provider beat 300 other qualifying companies to win the top spot.

Mr Flanagan, a father-of-three from Whinney Banks, uses his roots to push his business, with the aim to put Teesside on the map.

He collected the national award sporting a Middlesbrough flag accompanied by cheers from the two tables of staff representing his firm.

Mr Flanagan said: “As you can imagine, having started from nothing and building up such a strong and capable team, I am absolutely delighted and really proud.

"I'm very grateful to the team for all their hard work and dedication, also the continued support from family, friends and clients.

"I have a huge amount of love for Teesside so my plan going forward is to continue to grow the business, and create more work and careers for local people. We want to put Teesside on the map.”

Michelle Carter, Operations Manager, said the team found themselves amazed at the event when they were approached for business advice from veteran providers.

She said: "We're over-the-moon. We’re a family-run business with Teesside at the heart. For us to be named number one when we were up against massive providers in London, it’s something we just want to shout about.

“We use our social media as a focal-point in promoting our services. Insurance can be quite a dry thing so we’re trying to put a different spin on it and change its stigma.

"We have set ourselves this challenge and we’re on the road to changing perceptions.

"We're riding a really good wave and we just want to keep it going.”

Bespoke Financial is a financial protection company which offers advice and cover packages on life insurance, trusts and wills, critical illness, income protection and mortgages.