Bedford Blues chairman Geoff Irvine was awarded a lifetime achievement award at the Bedfordshire Business Awards that took place on Thursday night. 

The ceremony, which was held at Bedford Corn Exchange, celebrated the very best of businesses from across the county with 14 businesses, business leaders and employees being recognised for their hard work.

But the highlight of the evening came when Mr Irvine, who along with being chairman of Bedford Blues has also been a master of industry in the county since the 1960s, was presented with the  prestigious honour.

Getting involved with major projects across the nation, Geoff pushed himself to be the best he could be and he went from the back of a motorbike into work to turning over millions of pounds.

Chief of Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Paul Fuller, said in his introduction: "If you ask any former employees what they think of this man, it's sure to be the personal touches they remember. Setting up bank accounts for workers if they needed one, remembering everyone's names.

"And while the journey doesn't look like ending any time soon, today he will join us on the stage having achieved so much since it all started with those bike rides into work."

Geoff said of his win: "I came from a very poor background; my dad was an Irish labourer and mum was a lovely lady. The pair of them could barely read and write and from 11 years old I was running the family, writing the cheques.

"I was driven to better myself, got a scholarship to Bedford Modern School, and then having got there, had children, I just wanted to provide my children with a better lifestyle than I had."

He added: "If I had one wish I would be to have my parents to have been alive to see this. My parents died 25 years ago and never really saw me as a success. My mum worked three or four jobs to keep the family going, my dad worked very hard and it was tough.

"A lot of what I do is for them and I just wish they would have seen this and I hope they are proud of me."

Bedford Blues had been nominated for Marketing Campaign of the Year for our innovative use of social media and video campaigns, but we came runner up to Keech Hospice.

*Many thanks to Bedfordshire on Sunday for the use of their images. You can see more pictures from the night by clicking HERE 

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Saturday 26th January
1st XV Championship
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