THE centenary of the Institute of Directors (IoD) was marked in Yorkshire with the presentation of the Yorkshire Centenary Business Awards at the annual dinner at Oulton Hall in Leeds.

GNER chief executive Christopher Garnett was the guest speaker and the Master of Ceremonies was BBC Look North weather presenter Paul Hudson.

The overall winner and Business Person of the Year, was Suzanne Hart, managing director of York Place Company Services Limited. The award was presented by sponsor Co-Ventures Performance Coaching's founder Mirella Rugolotto.

The Business Woman of the Year category, sponsored by Business Link for West Yorkshire, was won by Sarah Whillock, director of Powerhouse Digital Photography Limited, based at the Roundhouse Business Park, in Leeds.

Recognising innovation in Yorkshire, the Most Innovative Business of the Year prize sponsored by Harrogate's Raworths Solicitors, was awarded to Lite-Lift Limited. The company started in 2001 with the design of a gadget designed to clear up after horses. Having only started production in October 2002, the Shavings Fork is now on sale in 246 retail outlets across the UK. Managing director Patricia Fearn runs the company from her home in Wetherby.

Awards organiser Di Burton said: "This is the first time the IoD has staged these awards and I am delighted by the standard of the entries. The fact that three of the four winners are women recognises the valuable contribution women make to business in this region."

A special award, sponsored by Carrick Read Solicitors, for someone under the age of 35, went to Jason Butler, managing director of Jump Group Limited, of Leeds.