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Shine Awards' Lifetime Achievement Award to honour foodservice legend Robyn Jones

16 May 2016 by
Shine Awards' Lifetime Achievement Award to honour foodservice legend Robyn Jones

People 1st has announced that the Shine Awards' Lifetime Achievement Award is to be renamed in honour of legendary foodservice entrepreneur and CH&Co Group founder Robyn Jones.

The Robyn Jones Lifetime Achievement Award, which will serve to commemorate the late foodservice operator's career and contribution to the industry, will be presented to a woman who has demonstrated long-term dedication to the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism industry and excellence in her career.

Previous winners include former VisitBritain chief executive Sandie Dawe, the Seafood Restaurant director Jill Stein, and Robyn Jones herself, who won the accolade in 2011. Sadly, Robyn passed away last year aged 54.

"She was a valued member of our Women 1st network, and we're proud to be able to honour her legacy through the Robyn Jones Lifetime Achievement Award."

Mark Lewis, publisher of The Caterer, which is People 1st partner in the Shine Awards, added: "Not only were Robyn's business achievements in a male-dominated industry admirable, but she was passionate about giving back to the industry through her charity work too."

Robyn's husband Tim Jones welcomed the news and said: "Robyn was truly dedicated to the hospitality industry, and to ensuring that it made the most of its talented people. It's wonderful to see her legacy being celebrated and continuing to inspire others in the industry she loved."

Robyn Jones' story is a truly inspirational one, having started her career as a school dinner lady, she founded CH&Co with her husband Tim on a Government Enterprise Allowance in 1991. With a spare bedroom as her office, and armed with just a telephone directory as her customer database, she began to build her company.

Within two years, and at the height of a recession, the company had won the Booker Prize for Excellence as Best Young Business and Best Caterer.

Her determination, endless enthusiasm and vision to gain a reputation for improving food at work by providing exceptional eating experiences paid off. Following a merger with HCM Group in 2015, CH&Co Group today has a turnover approaching £200m, with a team of 4,500 people and 400 contracts nationwide.

In addition to winning the Shine Lifetime Achievement award in 2011 and a prestigious Catey Award in 2006, she was also named as one of People 1st's Top 100 most Influential Women in Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism. She was awarded an OBE for her services to the industry that same year.

Robyn passed away at her home in September following a long illness. Her colleagues described her as "truly indomitable" and "an inspiring woman to work for".

The shortlist and winner of the Robyn Jones Lifetime Achievement award will be chosen by an expert panel of industry leaders. The winner will be announced at the Shine Awards dinner in London on 3 October.

The Shine Awards, now in its 11th year, was created to celebrate the achievements of women working in hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism, and the individuals and businesses that actively support gender diversity.

The awards recognise female talent and gender diversity ambassadors in the sectors and are a central platform to the Women 1st campaign, created by People 1st, which aims to help increase the number of women working in senior leadership roles across the visitor economy.

Four new categories have been added this year - Innovator of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Best Initiative to Retain and Develop Women, and Best Place for Women to Work. The Mentor of the Year and Ambassador of the Year categories are open to both men and women, celebrating the vital role men have to play both in supporting their female colleagues and in the development of more gender-diverse teams.

Entries for the other seven Shine Awards categories are open now at www.theshineawards.co.uk, and will close on 25 May.

For more information about the Women 1st campaign, visit www.women1st.co.uk

Shine Awards 2016 open for nominations >>

Sandie Dawe wins Women 1st Lifetime Achievement award >>

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