Harrogate's hospitality heroes honoured

Harrogate's hospitality heroes honoured

Published at 7:06pm 6th June 2017. (Updated at 4:38pm 8th June 2017)

The heroes of Harrogate's hospitality industry have been rewarded for their excellence and commitment during a gala dinner at the Royal Hall.

This year's Hospitality and Tourism Awards had a jungle theme based around 'I'm In Hospitality Get Me Out of Here!', with the hosts 'skydiving' in for the opening to help raise awareness and money for Saint Michael's Hospice which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Now in its ninth year, the sell-out event, which is organised by Destination Harrogate, was also hosted by Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.

Earlier this year, members of the public and visitors to Harrogate were invited to nominate individuals who they thought deserved special recognition.

Record entries of more than 1,500 nominations were collected, before a shortlist was chosen by judges across the 11 categories.

Harrogate Hospitality and Tourism Awards

Event orgabisers David Ritson and Simon Cotton

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 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."

This year, two new categories were added, Restaurant of the Year and Bar of the Year sponsored by Visit Harrogate and Timothy Taylor's respectively.

The winners were Norse and 10 Devonshire Place, and they both received tremendous support from their customers.

Simon Cotton, General Manager of the Cedar Court Hotel and co-organiser of the awards, said: "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!

"It was great to be able to support Saint Michael's Hospice too this year, and thanks to a fabulous audience, we managed to raise over £3,000 on the night, with more to come."

What could be described as the most prestigious award of the night, the Harrogate Ambassador of the Year, was won by John Fox.

In his illustrious career, John was a previous Mayor of the borough and more recently was praised for his work with Harrogate at Christmas and championing the efforts of the voluntary sector in the area.

His latest project is working with Mike Procter, President Elect of the Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce to prepare a 'Harrogate BID' (Business Improvement District) to raise money from the business community to fund benefits for the town.

In John's words, this is to "bring more people into Harrogate town centre, make them stay longer, spend more and leave happy".

Harrogate Hospitality and Tourism Awards

John Fox, Harrogate Ambassador of the Year, with Sir Gary Verity and Mike Procter

Organisers of the Harrogate Christmas Market, which won Best Achievement of the Year, said: "Our sincere thanks are due to our large team of volunteers, plus our partners, contractors and staff, who have worked together so well to achieve this recognition after five years' hard work. Thanks also of course to the many traders who have supported the event each year."

With nine member hotels, Destination Harrogate welcomes nearly 300,000 guests each year and collectively employs more than 900 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 town and the industry.

The winners of the 2017 Hospitality and Tourism Awards:

Waiter/Waitress of the Year - sponsored by Harrogate Spring Water

Louise Morrey - Bettys Harlow Carr

Bar Person of the Year - sponsored by Matthew Clark

Natalie Adams - 10 Devonshire Place

Chef of the Year - sponsored by Sykes House Farm

Michael Carr - Restaurant 92

Team of the Year - sponsored by Platinum Print

Tilly Peppers

Newcomer of the Year - sponsored by Harrogate College

Little Ale House

Unsung Hero - sponsored by Bidvest Foodservice

Brian James

Best Achievement of the Year - sponsored by Blueline Taxis

Harrogate Christmas Market

Outstanding Customer Service - sponsored by Leeds Bradford International Airport

Sophie Pride - William & Victoria

Restaurant of the Year - sponsored by Visit Harrogate


Bar of the Year - sponsored by Timothy Taylor's

10 Devonshire Place

Harrogate Ambassador of the Year - sponsored by Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce

John Fox

Tom Harland chatted to David Ritson, Simon Cotton, Natalie Adams and Michael Carr after the awards on Stray FM's Food and Drink Show. You can hear this below.