A FAMILY business which employs 17 ex-armed forces personnel has beaten off global brands including Amazon and Barcays to win a prestigious national award.

AAA Caring Caretaker has been crowned Employer of the Year at the Ex-Forces in Business Awards.

The awards, which were hosted by Sky Sports presenter Jacqui Oatley MBE, were held in London in what turned out to be a bittersweet moment for all attendees, as the evening started shortly after the country was told of the passing of Her Majesty the Queen.

But despite the sombre start, the night was about celebrating those companies that support former armed forces personnel into secure and sustainable employment and saw 1,500 people from over 300 UK businesses in attendance.

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AAA Caring Caretaker, which was founded by Richard H Tucker MBE – who himself had the pleasure of meeting Queen Elizabeth II on more than one occasion – was nominated for two awards, including the top award of the evening, Employer of the Year.

Richard, who attended the glittering ceremony with his daughter and company MD Alison Stephenson, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been named Employer of the Year, beating off Amazon, Barclays, and Greater Manchester Police to name but a few.

The Northern Echo: Richard Tucker and Alison Stephenson with their awardRichard Tucker and Alison Stephenson with their award (Image: LEC COMMUNICATIONS)

“Of course, it was a solemn start to the evening, as we stood in memory of our Queen, acknowledging the service, commitment, and overwhelming duty that she represented and whom we have been proud to serve and call Her Majesty.

“But the point of the evening was to celebrate businesses like ours who go above and beyond to help former military personnel into employment, and in a tasteful and dignified way that’s exactly what happened.

“And for AAA Caring Caretaker to walk away with the top award was the icing on the cake of what was a brilliant and unforgettable evening.”

In 2021, AAA Caring Caretaker Ltd won the Soldiering On Awards for Business Growth, sponsored by the London Stock Exchange, and was acknowledged in the top 50 worldwide veteran-owned companies at the 2018 Invictus Games.

The company was founded by CEO Richard H Tucker MBE in 2015 to complement an existing property company he was already running.

Since then, and despite the challenges which the coronavirus pandemic presented, the business has grown rapidly and is currently in the process of relocating to larger premises in Bowburn from its present base in Newton Aycliffe.

The move will see the creation of at least 10 new jobs and allow the company to further diversify into new markets.

As well as the NHS, Caring Caretaker provides cleaning and caretaker services to companies and organisations across the North East and Yorkshire, including PD Ports, Hartlepool Marina, Esh Housing, and the MOD.

Richard said: “As part of the relocation to Bowburn, we’re going to create a flagship centre for the business which will include office space and storage facilities, as well as leaving us with land leftover for future development as we continue to grow.

“We’ll also be recruiting 10 new people, for which the advertising and interview process has already started, and that will put us in a much stronger position to secure more large contracts, like the ones we have with the NHS and PD Ports.

Caring Caretaker, which also employs Richard’s daughter Alison Stephenson as company MD and son-in-law Robert, has successfully tapped into Business Durham support programmes, including the Routes to Contract Success, and the County Durham Growth Fund, which has awarded the company a grant as part of the move to larger premises.

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