Top accolade for Fakenham private hire firm Near and Far

Chris Cockrell from Near and Far accepts the award.

Chris Cockrell from Near and Far accepts the award. - Credit: Archant

They do just what they say with their cars, taking customers near and far.

Now a Fakenham-based private hire company has won a prestigious silver award at what have been dubbed the Oscars of the chauffeur industry.

Near and Far, set up by David Ahurn in 2005, carries everyone from holidaymakers and wedding couples to VIPs and celebrities.

The firm came second in the chauffeur company (one to 10 cars) category of the 2015 QSI (quality, service and innovation) awards judged by industry bible Professional Driver.

Editor Mark Bursa said the judges were impressed by Near and Far. He added: 'Near and Far offers a complete range of services - everything from airprot runs to weddings, to VIP chauffeuring and close protection work.

'Everything is presented immaculately and the standards of professionalism would shame many large operators.'

Near and Far chauffeur/manager Chris Cockrell accepted the prize at a special awards night at the Effingham Park Hotel, near Gatwick Airport.

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'I'd like to thank David Ahurn for the opportunity and I'm delighted that Near and Far has received this recognition,' he said.

'To all customers past and present, thank you for your loyalty and support.'

Mr Cockrell, who joined the company in 2013, said next year's target would be a gold award.

Mr Bursa said: 'We were overwhelmed by the quality of entries and it was a very tough job to pick our winners. Only very good operators made the short list.'

Customers paid tribute to the company's professionalism on its website.

Among them is Peter Barrows, the travel co-ordinator at Gresham's School, in Holt, who says: 'We have used Chris from Near and Far on many occasions and will continue to do so.

'His service, reliability and professionalism are exemplary and his background of chauffeuring and security make him a big asset.

'I would highly recommend him to any individual, company or private family.'

Lucy Geering, from the Stiffkey-based charity Rescue Wooden Boats, added: 'Our celebrity guest was thrilled to be looked after so well and it was great knowing that she was in safe hands.'