Council praises borough’s Ulster Tatler Awards’ winners


Lord Mayor Alderman Margaret Tinsley has acknowledged local businesses and luminaries who clinched a top award at last week’s prestigious Ulster Tatler Awards 2023.

Now in its sixteenth year, the Ulster Tatler Awards celebrate the best that Northern Ireland has to offer in hospitality, beauty, and business. The public were asked to vote in a range of categories honouring individuals and companies that have excelled in the last year.

There were four big wins for the borough at the gala awards ceremony held in Belfast City Hall on Thursday 14 September 2023.

Acknowledging the outstanding contributions of each winner, the Lord Mayor said: “Congratulations to our local winners on receiving a top accolade at the Ulster Tatler Awards. Brian Chapman and his family, Elizabeth Sands, Simon Hylands and Rory Best are great ambassadors for the borough having carved out successful careers in business, the arts and sport. They all rightly deserve this recognition and congratulations also to the other nominees who represented the borough on the night. I encourage everyone in the wider community to join me in recognising their success because they have made us all proud!”

Chapman’s Farm Fresh, Portadown was crowned winner of the Family Business of the Year Award. Established over 40 years ago and renowned for selling top quality fresh produce throughout that time, the farm shop has expanded into a bakery and coffee shop. Judges described Chapman’s Farm Fresh as ‘a business that truly gives back to the community’ and ‘embodies everything you would expect of a third generation, multi award-winning family business’.

Also from Portadown, illustrious entrepreneur Elizabeth Sands who founded the Elizabeth Sands Beauty School scooped the Business Woman of the Year Award. Since 2016 she has been offering a diverse range of in-person and online beauty courses. By 2020 she had expanded her reach to cover the whole of Northern Ireland. Recognised as a proven guiding light for people in her industry, she has trained over 4,400 technicians across Northern Ireland, and over 13,800 across the UK and Ireland to date.

Simon Hylands took home the Arts Personality of the Year Award for founding the Building Bridges Community Arts Theatre – a cross-community drama group in the heart of Lurgan that pride themselves on being dedicated to inclusive work with their community through the arts. The group has evolved into an arts organisation that existed to benefit the community not only by re-introducing arts culture, but also providing opportunities for all members from all corners of the community to come together in a safe space, breaking down barriers and building relationships through positive social opportunities. Simon chairs the group’s committee and spearheads most projects, producing and directing all productions that the group undertakes.

The Special Merit Award was presented to Ulster and Ireland rugby legend Rory Best. Born in Poyntzpass, Rory played for Ulster a record 218 times and has 124 Ireland caps as well as 60 points to his name. During his immense career, he captained Ireland from 2016 until 2019 and Ulster from 2007 to 2019. He was also in the British and Irish Lions squads in 2013 and 2017.

There were other big winners on the night. Pamela Ballantine won the Lifetime Achievement Award and Oscar winner James Martin picked up the Celebrity of the Year Award. View the full list of award winners at