This month's Star of the Month is Brian Cameron, group property manager of Donnington Property Services, who was called in to the Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa in Newbury, Berkshire, after it was overcome by water during July's floods. His idea of using the hotel's laundry as sandbags saved it from serious damage. Cameron was nominated by the hotel's PR manager, Paula Wynne.
Why did you nominate Brian?
Paula Wynne Brian showed resourcefulness, ingenuity and quick thinking in his approach to holding back the water. His idea of wetting the hotel's laundry and stuffing it into black bin bags was ingenious and proved, in the absence of sandbags, to restrain the rising flood water and prevent it from reaching other areas of the hotel including the reception and kitchen. However, Brian is modest and has significantly downplayed his role in saving the hotel from potential significant damage. He truly deserves to win the Star of the Month prize.
How does it feel to win Star of the Month?
Brian Cameron It feels really good, although I must admit that I feel a bit of a fraud. I spent 30 years in the fire service as a watch commander with a speciality in road traffic accidents. So while the floods were bad, I've been involved in much more serious incidents.
What sort of things did you encounter during that time?
BC The most challenging encounters I was put in charge of were a major car crash on the M4, where as a result of bad fog there was a multi-vehicle pile-up and a train derailment, during which a number of people lost their lives. I also once helped rescue a 1.5-tonne killer whale from Windsor Safari Park rescued a cow going through labour from a cesspit on the hottest day of the year, being up to my neck in it and returned a body to a crematorium. So the floods at Donnington Valley were just old hat really.
What happened on the day of the floods?
BC Heavy showers in July caused Donnington Valley Golf Course to flood, which then poured into the hotel. There was so much water it was like Niagara Falls, and the water started collecting and leaking through the concrete into the lower basement areas, flooding the ceilings and floors. There was a wedding reception going on, and we needed to make sure the chef in the kitchen of the WinePress restaurant was able to carry on cooking. Stuffing the wet laundry into black bags and using them as sandbags was the only way to keep the water out. I guess my experience from the fire service taught me to assess the situation quickly and work with what was available.
What will you do with the money?
I'm building a new house at the moment, and the prize money will come in very handy for that.
• To nominate someone for this award visit www.caterersearch.com/starofthemonth