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NEHA Excellence Awards winners revealed

03 March 2015 by
NEHA Excellence Awards winners revealed

The winners of the fifth annual North East Hotels Association (NEHA) Excellence Awards 2015 have been announced.

Prizes in 10 categories were handed out at the Hardwick Hall hotel in Country Durham, in tandem with the awards' sister project the Great North Menu, which prepared the dinner.

Staff at the Copthorne hotel won two awards - Susi Lennie for best Sales Champion Reactive, and Nicola Steele, who won the Shooting Star prize - while one gong apiece went to the Hotel Indigo, County Thistle, Macdonald Linden Hall, Close House, Thistle Middlesbrough, Matfen Hall, Jurys Inn Newcastle & Gateshead, and the Durham Marriott Royal County.

Other categories included Best Arrivals Experience (Rachel Common, Hotel Indigo), Leisure Excellence (Kerry Watson, Close House), Inspirational Leader (Alison Rutherford, Durham Marriott Royal County) and Cleanliness (Susan Brougham, Matfen Hall).

Three winning chefs from the Great North Menu project were also named as Chris Murphy from Hardwick Hall, Paul Blakey from Doxford Hall, and Peter Smith from Seaham Hall.

The judges were Terry Laybourne (21 Hospitality Group), James Butterfield (Darlington College), Mark Bennett and Jon Hill (respectively the executive chef and general manager of Hardwick Hall).

One of the largest hotel associations in the UK, NEHA seeks to promote the interests, high-standards and market share of the hotel employee community and industry in the North East. Its 44 members span all sectors and include independent hotels as well as branded hotels.


  • Best Arrivals Experience - Rachel Common, Hotel Indigo

  • Service Excellence - Chris Main, Macdonald Linden Hall

  • Cleanliness - Susan Brougham, Matfen Hall

  • Leisure Excellence - Kerry Watson, Close House

  • Sales Champion Proactive - Debi Brook, Jurys Inn Newcastle & Gateshead

  • Sales Champion Reactive - Susi Lennie, Copthorne Hotel

  • Community Award - Lite@nite team, Thistle Middlesbrough

  • Shooting Star - Nicola Steele, Copthorne Hotel

  • Inspirational Leader - Alison Rutherford, Durham Marriott Royal County

A group effort from the North East Hotels Association >>

David Hunter, leading hotelier in the North East, dies suddenly >>

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