A £5,000 memorial prize for hospitality and tourism students has been set up in the name of hotel industry pioneer Henry Edwards, who died in September.
Despite not being a household name, his "influence was as significant as the better-known giants of the industry", according to the British Hospitality Association.
He began his career working for iconic hotelier Max Joseph at the Washington Hotel group, before launching Centre Hotels, which was, for many, the first ever budget hotel group.
When Centre was bought out in 1976 by Coral Leisure, Edwards almost immediately founded Comfort Hotels, consisting largely of a group of three-star hotels. When Ladbroke took it over in 1986, he then founded Friendly Hotels. Friendly became Choice Hotels Europe in 1997, before recently re-branding as The Real Hotel Company.
The Henry Edwards memorial prize, established by his family, is open to anyone aged 25 or under who is either working in the hotel industry in the UK or studying for an industry-approved qualification at a recognised college or university.
The method of entry is by a 1,500 word essay and an interview with a panel of judges. The subject for this year's essay is: "The single innovation I would bring to the hotel industry and the benefits it would bring to the industry."
Deadline for entries is 31 March. For further details e-mail HenryEdwardsMemorialPrize@googlemail.com
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By Daniel Thomas
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