The first main female presenter of Channel 4 news is to host the in-Cumbria Business Awards 2019.

Cathy Newman will command the stage at the biggest event in the county’s business calendar.

Shortlisted finalists and business leaders from across the county will, once again, gather at the Halston Hotel in Carlisle to celebrate the very best of business in Cumbria.

The awards – now in their third year – take place on Thursday, November 14.

Entries are now open for both individuals and businesses across 16 categories. This year sees the introduction of three new honours: Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Best Green Ethical Business Award and the Flying the Flag for Cumbria Award, which builds on the category it replaces, Best Exporter.

While nominations can be made for the coveted Robin Burgess Lifetime Contribution to Cumbria Award, the winner will be chosen by the in-Cumbria team.

Cathy Newman is best known for her direct interviews on Channel 4’s flagship news programme. A veteran of Fleet Street with numerous high-profile scoops under her belt, she is a passionate advocate of women’s rights.

“I’m really looking forward to presenting the awards,” she said.

“I’ve spent many a happy holiday in the Lake District – from Buttermere to Ullswater – so it’s great to have an excuse for another visit. I’ll see you all there!”

The 2019 awards will build on the hugely successful 2018 and 2017 events, hosted by television and radio broadcaster Jeremy Vine and the BBC’s media editor Amol Rajan respectively.

Luke Dicicco, group business editor at Newsquest Cumbria, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be welcoming Cathy to Cumbria later on this year to host the awards.

“She really is at the sharp end of the news agenda, covering everything from Brexit to the gender pay gap, and will certainly bring a topical slant to the evening.

“As a former business correspondent, she knows only too well the issues facing the world of business, and also the need to celebrate their success.

“With the date, venue and host now in place, it is now down to businesses across Cumbria to come forward and enter across the categories up for grabs.

“I’m particularly excited to introduce three new categories, which will celebrate young entrepreneurs, green business and homegrown ventures that are, through their first-class products and services, taking the Cumbrian name out to the rest of the UK and the world.

“They are issues that are high on the business agenda in the county.

“And I can think of no better way to honour former chief executive and chairman of CN Group, Robin Burgess, than dedicating the Lifetime Contribution to Cumbria Award to him.

“Robin was incredibly passionate about inspiring and celebrating business in the county.

“He represents everything that this award stands for, having been recognised with the title in 2015.”

Mr Dicicco urged businesses to enter the awards.

“Now is the chance for you and your business to shine,” he said.

“Don’t hide your light under a bushel, enter what promises to be yet another fantastic year – and please make this yet another tough year for the in-Cumbria team and our line-up of expert judges!”

The closing date is noon on Friday, June 14.