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Harrogate’s hospitality heroes were rewarded for their excellence and commitment on Monday night (4 June 2018) during a gala dinner with a theme celebrating the best the town has to offer at Harrogate’s Royal Hall.
Celebrating their tenth anniversary, the sell-out awards evening, which is organised by Simon Cotton and David Ritson on behalf of Destination Harrogate, was produced with assistance from the team at Harrogate Theatre including David Bown, Phil Lowe and Tim Stedman and was hosted by Sir 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. Record entries of 1500 nominations were collected before a shortlist was chosen by judges across the eleven categories.
Simon Cotton, Managing Director at the HRH Group and co-organiser of the event said:
The awards are a fantastic occasion for the town and beyond. They reward not only the winners, but all those who are shortlisted and work in every area of hospitality, recognising the effort and commitment they make on a daily basis.
We received so many 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 nominations we receive outline the amazing feats that this industry can generate. We are extremely lucky to live and work in a town where the community comes together to make it such a great place.
David Ritson, General Manager of the Old Swan Hotel and co-organiser of the event commented:
We would like to thank everyone who supported us in the awards, we had a record response to nominations and a record number of people attend the dinner and awards at the Royal Hall. The hospitality sector is so important to this town’s economy and it is wonderful to see the crème de la crème of their category being acclaimed for their efforts; both those shortlisted and those who won deserve their ‘moment’ in the spotlight and it was great to see everyone celebrating tonight!
What could be described as the most prestigious award of the night, the Harrogate Ambassador of the Year was won by Nigel Pulling. Nigel is Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and has completed more than sixteen years full-time effort running the major local charity which attracts over 150,000 visitors to Harrogate every year. Since then he has seen the Great Yorkshire Show grow to become one of the biggest agricultural events in the English calendar. Every year, more than 8,500 animals and over 130,000 visitors converge on the Showground from all over the UK.
Members of the Royal Family usually visit each year – including Her Majesty the Queen in 2008 and Prince Charles in 2011 and 2015. In addition to the main role of supporting agriculture, horticulture and the countryside, he has also personally supported education, enterprise and rural networks across the region. He is also responsible for the Society’s other activities year round. He is passionate about bringing farming together and was instrumental in planning the Society’s Regional Agricultural Centre which opened in June 2009.
With 11 member hotels, Destination Harrogate welcomes almost 300,000 guests each year and collectively employs over 1000 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 Convention Centre and the Yorkshire Event Centre to promote conferences and local businesses for leisure breaks. Members work together and with other tourism-led businesses in order to promote high standards within the industry and the town.
The Award winners were;
Waiter/Waitress of the Year – sponsored by Harrogate Spring Water
Matthew Weller – ASK Italian
Bar Person of the Year – sponsored by Matthew Clark
Jaks Gardner – The Fat Badger
Chef of the Year – sponsored by Sykes House Farm
Michael Carr – Restaurant 92
Team of the Year – sponsored by Platinum HPL
William & Victoria
Newcomer of the Year – sponsored by Harrogate College
Starling Independent Beer and Coffee House
Unsung Hero – sponsored by Bidfood
Kita Hudson, Last Post
Best Achievement of the Year – sponsored by Blueline Taxis
Rudding Park Spa
Outstanding Customer Service – sponsored by Slingsby Gin
Laura Fell – West Park hotel
Restaurant of the Year – sponsored by Visit Harrogate
Bar of the Year – sponsored by Timothy Taylor’s
Harrogate Ambassador of the Year sponsored by Harrogate Christmas Market
Photographs by Tim Hardy