Harrogate Hospitality & Tourism
Harrogate’s unsung hospitality heroes celebrated at sell-out awards evening
Harrogate’s unsung hospitality heroes were rewarded for their excellence and commitment on Tuesday night (17th June) during a glittering gala dinner at the Harrogate International Centre’s Royal Hall.
Now in their sixth year, the sell-out awards evening, which is organised by Destination Harrogate, was hosted by Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.
The Harrogate Hospitality and Tourism Awards aim to promote the town’s hospitality offering through celebrating and rewarding those individuals who show the highest levels of commitment and strive towards excellence on the town’s behalf.
During February and March members of the public and visitors to Harrogate were invited to nominate individuals who they thought deserved special recognition. Over 800 nominations were collected before a shortlist of 37 was chosen by judges across nine categories.
David Ritson, Chair of Destination Harrogate and General Manager of The Old Swan Hotel, said;
“The awards are a fantastic event for the town and beyond. They reward not only the winners, but all those who work in every area of hospitality, recognising the effort and commitment they make on a daily basis.”
“Once again we received a huge number of entries this year and it was great to see such a large number of the community getting involved. We have been able to reward some very worthy winners. The success of the awards in just a short space of time is also reflective in the diversity of businesses and associations getting involved, with the short list this year including not only hotels, restaurants and bars, but also a Crime Writing Festival, a Christmas Market, and an international youth festival amongst others!”
This year’s winners include The Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival which takes place over four-days each July, the festival presents an accessible, challenging and entertaining long-weekend of live literature events, engaging 13,000 people each year in lively thought-provoking debates about the written word, the changing roles of writers and readers, and literature’s response to, and effect upon, wider society. In 2014 the event, organised by Harrogate International Festivals has even secured an exclusive festival appearance from J.K Rowling!
One of the most prestigious awards of the night, the Harrogate Ambassador of the Year had a slight twist this year – it was won by former town Mayor Michael Newby AND his Consort Clive Kirkham! The pair’s passionate and energetic approach to their term has won great plaudits from many Harrogate townsfolk and they worked tirelessly to promote the region and put Harrogate on the map! In judging their efforts could not be separated and everyone agreed that they will be a tough act to follow!
With 9 of the towns leading hotels as members, Destination Harrogate welcomes almost 300,000 guests each year and collectively employs over 800 members of staff. The Association has been in existence for many years with the enduring goal of promoting Harrogate as a destination, working in close partnership with the Harrogate International Centre and Yorkshire Event Centre to promote conferences, business and leisure breaks. Members work together and with other tourism-led businesses in order to promote high standards within the industry and the town.
The 2014 Award winners are;
Waiter/Waitress of the Year sponsored by Sunlight Textile Services
Taylor Fox - Bettys Café Tearooms
Bar Person of the Year sponsored by Matthew Clark
Simon Flanigan - Christies
Chef of the Year sponsored by Sykes House Farm
Dean Sowden – Deanos Graze and Grill
Team of the Year sponsored by Platinum Print
Harrogate Tourist Information Centre
Newcomer of the Year sponsored by Harrogate College
The Yorkshire Meatball Company
Unsung Hero of the Year sponsored by Destination Harrogate
Mike Wood - William and Victoria
Best Achievement of the Year sponsored by Blueline Taxis
Harrogate International Festivals – Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival
Outstanding Customer Service sponsored by Leeds Bradford International Airport
Rebecca Turnbull – Harrogate International Centre
Harrogate Ambassadors sponsored by Harrogate Chamber of Trade & Commerce
Michael Newby and Clive Kirkham