This year’s TTJ Awards on September 25 were very different from the normal annual awards – no central London hotel, no lunch and no face-to-face networking.

But though the coronavirus pandemic may have kyboshed physical events and meetings, it didn’t prevent the Awards going ahead digitally or dampen the spirit for those attending.

A digital events platform allowed guests to interact and communicate in a Networking Lounge – which saw 180 comments posted – and watch the main awards presentation, as well as view additional content including: a special focus on new timber industry campaign Wood CO2ts less, a short industry Covid-19 response film and a video about the latest American Hardwood Export Council project: Connected.

Combilift was again the headline sponsor, with other sponsors including the Timber Trade Federation (TTF), Lonza Wood Protection, Ten-25 Software, Baumann UK, Structural Timber Association, Palmer Timber and Stora Enso.

About 200 viewers watched the event, seeing Howarth Timber Group scoop the coveted Timber Trader of the Year Award for the second year running.

After the event Andrew Howarth, managing director of Howarth Timber Group, told Timber Trader of the Year category sponsor the TTF that he was delighted about the win this year.

“These awards are very special to us as unlike others that are decided by a judging panel, this is based on customer votes,” said Mr Howarth.

“We would like to thank our customers for their continued support, even in these difficult circumstances and to let them know that we are striving to ensure our regular customers get the products they need on time.”

He credited the company’s focus on employee training as one of the main reasons for its success and thanked employees for having to adapt over recent months to changed ways of doing business due to the pandemic.

Neil Donaldson of James Donaldson & Sons received the TTJ Lifetime Achievement Award. Companies featured in the TTJ Covid-19 response film included the National Timber Group, MKM Building Supplies, South London Timber, Pinewood Structures, the TTF, Combilift, James Donaldson & Sons and Donaldson Timber Engineering.

Ted James, managing director of South London Timber, told viewers that he had contracted Covid-19 in March and it did “knock him for six”, while Geoff Arnold, MD of Pinewood Structures, said the crisis had probably accelerated the widespread adoption of video conferencing by about 5-10 years.

TTF CEO David Hopkins said there was now a new debate about what was important in life, with timber’s benefits including low carbon credentials chiming with architects and developers and the general increased focus on environmental matters.

TTJ editor Stephen Powney interviewed Mr Hopkins about the new industry campaign Wood CO2ts less, which is aiming to educate on the low carbon benefits of using timber in the fight against climate change.

The American Hardwood Export Council’s (AHEC) short film about their latest project Connected shared how various designers had been challenged to design an item of furniture.

“The brief was an obvious one – we design something for home living, I don’t think we realised when we started the project how relevant that brief was [due to Covid-19],” said David Venables, AHEC’s European director.

Using video conferencing the designers and the furniture maker – Benchmark – were able to bring to fruition some amazing pieces of furniture in US hardwood despite the pandemic restrictions.

Fund-raising was also a feature this year, with close to £1,000 being raised for TTJ Awards nominated charity the Timber Trades’ Benevolent Society (TTBS). Money can still be contributed on the JustGiving Link – https://

The full-length video of the TTJ Awards is now going on the TTJ website (Awards section) at: 2020/