Family-run hire business in Bedford wins national award

Rachel Dixon from Chiltern Hire Centre is presented with the award.
Rachel Dixon from Chiltern Hire Centre is presented with the award.

A family-run hire business in Bedford has won a national industry award - beating some well-known names to become winners.

Chiltern Hire Centre Ltd, based in Brunel Road, have won the award for Best Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the Hire Association Europe Awards of Excellence.

The award is for their work towards running a more sustainable, ethical business which has a positive impact on the environment, customers, employees, community and suppliers.

Chiltern Hire Centre have created their own strategies, examining their business and identifying areas for change and development. For example, they increased support to various local charities and organisations and have assessed the impact their waste has on the environment, which they are currently working to minimise.

Peter Dilley, managing director, said: “The HAE Awards are very prestigious and it was an honour to be named finalists, let alone winners!

“We are a very small, family-run company and as such we cannot fund CSR policies to the same degree as the larger, national hire companies. However, we recognise the importance of sustainability and our responsibility for effecting change with our company beliefs, practices and profits. It’s a cliché, but it’s all about trying to make the world a better place.”

The Hire Association Europe and Event Hire Association (HAE EHA) announced the winners of the 2018 awards during a glittering ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, hosted by BBC sports correspondent Chris Hollins, and attended by almost 400 guests.

The ceremony, which is a much-anticipated highlight of the year for HAE EHA and all its members, is the only event of its kind which celebrates the outstanding achievements of companies and individuals across the entire hire industry. The popularity of the event has soared in recent times with this year seeing a significant rise in the number of entries received from across a wide spectrum of businesses in the UK’s plant, tool, equipment and event hire industry.

The awards, which are highly valued and respected throughout the hire industry, encourage companies and individuals to demonstrate how they have successfully met the stringent criteria laid down by the association. This year saw two brand new categories being added to the Awards list: Best Sustainability & CSR Initiative and Best Recruitment Innovation Campaign bringing the awards total up to 17.

The Chairman’s Award for outstanding performance, the Hire Achiever’s Award, and other individual awards presented to those who stood out in their field of expertise, were also a real highlight of the evening.

This year the Chairman’s Award was presented to Mr Sat Dhaiwal, chief executive officer of leading UK equipment rental company A-Plant. Mr Dhaiwal received the award for a career that has been truly inspirational and a prime example of what can be achieved through hard work and application. He joined A-Plant as a depot manager at the age of 23 and rose steadily through the ranks to become chief executive in 2002 and one of the most influential people in the hire industry.

The event got off to a rousing start with an opening speech from HAE EHA managing director Graham Arundell and continued with the engaging hosting of well-known broadcaster Chris Hollins.

As the winners were revealed, each was presented with trophies and then had the opportunity to be professionally interviewed off-stage.

Graham Arundell said: “With record numbers in every category this year, the judges faced some difficult decisions in selecting the winners from amongst leading hire companies as well as independents and talented individuals. The awards really are an important way of showcasing the ‘rising talent’ in the industry as well as celebrating the superlative commitment that our members make to supporting other businesses by providing safe, well-maintained equipment and tools for hire.

“There is so much innovation going on at the moment in our industry that it is wonderful to get the chance to be able to recognise and share in it by bringing everyone all under the same roof. The competition this year was so fierce, we felt compelled to give out more ‘Highly Commended’ awards than before - the calibre of entries was very impressive. The whole evening turned out to be a roaring success and exceeded our expectations in every way. Having the opportunity to come together as an industry to applaud best practice was a real honour for us.”

The 2018 Winners of Hire Awards of Excellence were:

HAE EHA Chairman’s Award – Sat Dhaiwal

Catalogue of the Year - Hirebase

Website of the Year - Allens Catering Equipment Hire

Best Use of New Media – CanTrack Global

Best Sustainability and CSR - Chiltern Hire Centre Ltd

Construction Industry Product of the Year - Addex Group for Allsaw AS170

Events Industry Product of the Year - G-Smatt Europe’s G-Wall for temporary structures

Supplier of the Year - Hilti GB

Plant, Tool & Equipment Hire Company of the Year (Turnover up to £10m) - Smith’s Hire

Plant, Tool & Equipment Hire Company of the Year (Turnover over £10m) - A-Plant

Event Equipment Hire Company of the Year - LIVE

SafeHire Company of the Year - Didcot Hire

Best Recruitment Innovation - CanTrack Global

Apprentice of the Year – Bonnie Stanton, CW Plant Hire

Workshop Manager of the Year – Matt Stonall, AFI

Hire Manager of the Year – Jessica Bowen, Vp plc Hire Station

Hire Achiever of the Year - Chosen from amongst the three winners of the individual categories - Jessica Bowen, Vp plc Hire Station

The hire sector is a vital component in the delivery of economic activity, commercial and public, in the UK and globally. HAE EHA members provide the resources and capability behind much public and commercial investment: in land and buildings, infrastructure, national and international events and corporate hospitality. Its members are innovative and trusted partners who provide the highest of standards in quality, safety and customer service to all their clients.

Included amongst HAE EHA members are sole traders through to larger organisations which, thanks to membership, get access to products and services covering all aspects of hire, including terms & conditions, safety checks, publicity, equipment, responsibilities and general day-to-day requirements. Accompanying HAE EHA services include: legal advice, training, publicity, safety checks, leaflets, lobbying and finance advice; necessary documentation and information. In addition, members also have access to HAE EHA’s essential range of health & safety, economical and credit control services.

For more information on becoming a member of HAE EHA visit

Visit and call 01234 347713.