THERE was a buzz in the air as the best businesses in Inverclyde were honoured at this year's Bee's Knees awards.

The creme-de-la-creme of local companies gathered at the marquee at the Chartroom at Kip Marina for the 16th annual gala dinner and awards ceremony arranged by the local chamber of commerce.

One of the big winners of the night was Dr Gerry McCarthy who was presented with the President's Award.

This was in recognition of his 20-year career at NatSemi/Texas Instruments in Greenock.

As managing director he has been crucial in seeing the business recently acquired by US firm Diodes Inc, a deal which has saved hundreds of jobs.

He was also honoured for his roles in supporting local charities, including Reach for Autism, and as chair of regeneration body Riverside Inverclyde, a position he has held since 2014.

Gavin McDonagh, president of the Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce, said: "Our warmest congratulations go to Dr Gerry McCarthy and another superb line up of Bee’s Knees Business Awards winners.

“The awards initiative gives companies the opportunity to showcase their successes and their ambitions, which are providing the foundations for continued growth here in Inverclyde.

"It was pleasing to see the awards spread over businesses large and small, new and established.

"We thank our sponsors for joining with us to celebrate the impressive achievements of both winners and finalists and helping us show how much we have to be proud of here in Inverclyde."

Meanwhile, there was a cause for celebration for Ferguson Marine Engineering, awarded the 'Proud to be in Inverclyde' award.

There was also a toast to the The Start Up Drinks Lab in Port Glasgow, who received the 'Most Promising New Business' award.

Staff at Specsavers picked up the 'Excellence in Skills and Learning' prize while Nicola Temporal from 'A Spoonful of Sugar' received the 'Most Inspiring Sole Trader' award.

The other worthy winners were: EE/BT Enterprise - Outstanding Customer Service; Carys Knox from the Waterfront Cinema - Emerging Young Talent; Tonino's Pizzeria - Best Food and Drink Business; Leapmoor LLP - Inspiring Professional of the Year; The Balmore Group - Best Use of Innovation or Digital Technology and Holiday Inn Express Greenock - Inverclyde Business of the Year.

The successful awards evening also raised £1,875 for the Inverclyde charity Mind Mosaic.

***Pictures from Alasdair Bryson of Feature Developments***