Former Easton and Otley College principal David Lawrence to receive Outstanding Achievement award at EDP Business Awards

David Lawrence, former principal of Easton and Otley College is the winner of the 2015 EDP Business

David Lawrence, former principal of Easton and Otley College is the winner of the 2015 EDP Business Awards Outstanding Achievement Award, sponsored by Anglian Water. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

Former Easton and Otley College principal David Lawrence is to be presented with an Outstanding Achievement Award at this year's EDP Business Awards.

For more than two decades Mr Lawrence helped to lay the educational foundations to help the farmers of the future to prosper and thrive.

As principal of Easton and Otley College he helped to steer the colleges in Norfolk and Suffolk towards a successful merger and to becoming beacons of excellence for those seeking a career on the land whether in agriculture, horticulture or animal husbandry.

And now his achievements for both education and business are to be recognised at this year's EDP Business Awards as Mr Lawrence is to be presented with the Outstanding Achievement Award at a glittering awards ceremony at Norfolk Showground Arena on Thursday November 5.

Sponsored by Anglian Water, the Outstanding Achievement Award celebrates the achievement of an individual who has played a transformative role not only in his or her own business, but also in the wider business community.

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The EDP Business Awards are now a core fixture in the region's business calendar and this year is set to be a special occasion as it celebrates the 25th anniversary of the awards.

Nearly 300 businesses entered this year's awards and the black-tie event will also feature a keynote speech from Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the record-breaking adventurer who will be talking about how lessons learned from performing under pressure can be applied to business.

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This year's awards sees some exciting new categories, including corporate social responsibility, enviro-technologies, rural enterprise, and the Top 100 Accelerator awards.

The night will also see the presentation of the Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Barclays, which is drawn from one of the finalists.

And to mark the special anniversary year, Barclays will also present a special one-off award selected from the previous winners of the Barclays Business of the Year Award, with previous award winners among those invited back to this year's awards.

Mr Lawrence, who stepped down as principal in July after 22 years at the college said he was delighted to receive the accolade, which comes days after he received an honorary doctorate from the college.

'I never expected it,' he said. 'It has come completely out of the blue and I'm deeply humbled by it. To be recognised by my peers from a business perspective means a great deal to me.

'It's always been a team effort – and without my colleagues or industry - I wouldn't have achieved any of it.'

The father-of-two, who began his career as a farm manager in Cambridgeshire before moving into education, said the college had always enjoyed a 'fabulous' working relationship with businesses, agriculturally or otherwise.

Mr Lawrence has played a key role in the development of the campus at Easton and said one of his career highlights was the development of the sports centre and a campaign which helped raise £750,000 to get the project off the ground.

He said that the merger to create a single Easton and Otley College was also a career landmark.

Mark Pendlington, director of corporate affairs at Anglian Water, said the award was richly deserved.

'David has devoted his hugely successful career to helping secure the future of our vital rural economy,' he said. 'It is his personal vision and drive that has helped transform the college into what we see and value today. David is a true force of nature. A formidable business leader and a great team player who has had a lifetime of outstanding achievement. We are very proud indeed to recognise him with this prestigious award.'

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