The Catey statue won by the Soho hotel, London, in 2006, has been returned to the property after a Friday-night reveller stole it from its pride of place in the hotel's reception.
Cast from solid bronze and worth around £600, the 36cm, 3kg female statuette - won when the property was named Group Hotel of the Year - was captured on closed circuit television being plucked off the hotel's concierge desk by a middle aged man and placed in a bag before being carried out of the property, owned by Firmdale Hotels.
"We knew very quickly that it had gone missing as our inconspicuous security staff spotted it," explained the hotel's deputy general manager, Alan Petrie. "Once we looked at the security film, we knew who had taken it as the gentleman concerned had been a guest at the hotel and it appeared that he had been drinking. We immediately called him and he returned it without any fuss, but he was very embarrassed."
More than 400 Catey statuettes have been presented since the Cateys were founded in 1984. Designed by the sculptor Thérèse Theodas, the trophies continue to be hand cast every year at the artist's foundry in Devon.
There is still time to get hold of one of this year's much-sought-after Cateys, with nominations still sought for six categories: Accessibility, Best Use of Technology, Best Independent Marketing Campaign, Best Group Marketing Campaign, Health and Nutrition and Sustainable Business. The closing date is Monday 19 March and nomination forms can be downloaded at www.cateys.com.
By Janet Harmer
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