NOMINATIONS for the Reading Retail Awards opened last month.

Business leaders from across the town joined local dignitaries including John Madejski and Ady Williams at the Hilton Hotel for the seventh annual competition.

The event signified the opening of the nomination period for the awards, which saw 4,000 nominations made in 14 categories last year.

Sir Madejski, whose radio station Jack FM is one of the awards’ sponsors, said: “The Reading Retail Awards is such a positive thing for the whole of Reading.

“It encourages people to get into the shops and it gives an opportunity for the general public to vote for their favourite retail outlet.”

Categories for this year’s awards include Manager of the Year, Best Health, Beauty and Well-being outlet and Retailer of the Year, which was scooped up by Topshop and Topman in 2015.

Mr Williams, who has played for Wales and captained Reading, said: “It’s great for all the companies involved.

“I’m born and bred in the area so I think it’s a good thing to see the companies of the town brought together and given a chance at recognition.”

Sponsors of this year’s awards include The Oracle, Broad Street Mall, The Hilton Hotel, The Event Crew, JMEZ Media, JackFM, First Friday Club, Terrys and The Reading Chronicle.

The awards are free to enter and are open to any size of shop. Winners are chosen by an independent judging panel of expert and are invited to attend a black tie dinner ceremony at The Hilton Hotel, Reading, on Saturday, September 17.

One lucky nominator chosen at random will receive £100 to spend on their next shopping spree.

To nominate a retail outlet got to readingretailawards.co.uk.