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The winner of this year's award has literally gone the extra mile. Jonathan Raggett has done it while taking on one of the greatest sporting challenges, pushing himself to the limit to complete the full Tour de France route in aid of Cure Leukaemia.
The Red Carnation managing director was one of 25 amateur cyclists who took on a challenge to raise £1m for Cure Leukaemia. They cycled the 21 stages, covering this year's gruelling 3,500km one week ahead of the professional race. The charity bills it as the closest experience to a pro-cycling team that you will find. Raggett smashed his fundraising efforts for this arduous task, personally raising £56,000 against a target of £30,000. All money raised has been invested into the national Trials Acceleration Programme, which runs clinical trials for pioneering treatments for leukaemia and will significantly increase the number of people given access to potentially life-saving treatments.
Raggett told The Caterer ahead of the challenge: "It's over 21 days and we will do exactly the same route as the pros. It's a huge challenge. I've done the Etape du Tour, which is one of the more difficult mountain stages, but it's one day. After doing that, I could hardly walk. Now I need to do that 21 times."
Raggett was inspired to take part by leukaemia survivor and former footballer Geoff Thomas, who will form part of the Cure Leukaemia team, as well as his own experience with blood cancer.
"When I was in my mid 20s I had a fiancé who got leukaemia," he said. "She had a bone marrow transplant but sadly passed. If she had contracted it now, modern-day medicine would have saved her, so I want to help contribute to furthering that research.
"Leukaemia is still out there, so if I can help some people in some way, it's a great thing to be able to do. I'm mentally strong but I'm an average cyclist. I know consultant chef Hayden Groves did it, but there's quite a gulf between our abilities. There will be a lot of blood, sweat and tears to complete it."
Needless to say, the tenacious hotelier completed the challenge, raising an outstanding amount of money in the process.
Exclusive Collection managing director Danny Pecorelli said of the achievement: "Anything Jonathan applies himself to, he succeeds at. If it's running a world-class hotel group with exceptional service and people at its heart or if it's the herculean task of raising an incredible amount of money for charity and taking on the Tour de France, he achieves it. All with an amazing sense of humour and humility."
Andrew Stembridge, executive director at Iconic Luxury Hotels, added: "Jonathan's is certainly no stranger to the saddle, having already cycled hundreds of miles alongside many industry peers, raising thousands of pounds for our most deserved industry charities.
"Cycling the Tour de France was, however, a challenge beyond the realms of any ordinary hotelier and the commitment he demonstrated is testament to Jonathan's strength of character and the exceptional lengths he is prepared to go to, to support incredible causes."
2021 John Angus, Switch Hospitality Management
2019 Aaron Patterson, Hambleton Hall
2018 Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London
2017 Edward Bracken, Crowne Plaza London Kensington
2016 Crowne Plaza Leeds team
2015 Chris Penn, Ace Hotel London Shoreditch
2014 Sylla ‘Amara' Ibrahima, Park Plaza County Hall London
2013 David Mead-Male, Royal Crescent hotel, Bath
2012 The Langstone Hotel and South Downs College, Hampshire
2011 Veronica Kingham, Village hotel, Maidstone
2010 Fiona Simm, Crowne Plaza Cambridge
2009 Gary Gateley, Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury
2008 Gloucester East (Barnwood) Premier Inn
2007 Paula Middleton, Premier Inn