'Selfless' Marriott housekeeper with inspiring story comes away with Leeds Hotel & Venues Association award

A "selfless" housekeeper who sends his hard-earned money to his village in The Gambia is among the inspiring winners of Leeds' hotel awards.

By Abbey Maclure
Friday, 17th June 2022, 4:09 pm

The Leeds Hotel & Venues Association (LHVA) held its annual event last night, celebrating the best of the city’s hospitality industry.

Held at Headingley Stadium, the event returned following a two-year, covid-enforced break in partnership with LEEDS 2023 Year of Culture.

The awards featured nine categories including Front of House Customer Service, Back of House Customer Service, Unsung Hero, Rising Star and Top Team.

Lamin Darboe, a housekeeper and breakfast chef at the Leeds Marriott Hotel, won the People's Choice Award - sponsored by the Yorkshire Evening Post

Lamin Daboe, a housekeeper and breakfast chef at the Leeds Marriott Hotel, came away with the People's Choice Award which was sponsored by the Yorkshire Evening Post.

YEP readers voted in their thousands to pick their favourite of eight nominees and Lamin came away with a landslide victory.

Lamin was nominated for his charity work for the Darboe Kunda Charitable Association in his native village in The Gambia.

The 49-year-old sends money back to support his wife and four daughters, as well as the other people in his village.

The winners and runners-up of the LHVA Awards 2022

He has built and furnished a mosque and without this facility the children in the village would not be in school.

The Marriott team said Lamin was "extremely humble and selfless" and they were delighted that he was recognised for the "valuable contribution he continues to make."

Lamin told the YEP: "It feels amazing - I'm so happy. I don't usually tell people what I do, I usually keep it to myself.

"I'm thankful to all the management at the Leeds Marriott Hotel.

LHVA chairman Wayne Topley and head of communications and marketing for LEEDS 2023, Claire Hutchinson

"It's the people that make me love the job. The people that I work with feel like a family. I spend most of my time in the hotel - it's my second home.

"They make me who I am.

"My family are so excited - they've put it all over Whatsapp!"

Read More

Read More
Oliver Awards 2022: Here is every winner in the Yorkshire Evening Post's Leeds r...

Hosted by radio and television presenter Stephanie Hirst, the LHVA awards recognised the dedication of those within the city’s hotels through what has been a particularly tough time for the industry

From furloughed colleagues taking on community roles and volunteering at vaccination centres, to hotels supporting the homeless, guests heard stories of those who had gone above and beyond in their roles.

Maureen Hezelgrave, the winner of the Chairman's Award, was celebrated for her 20 years of service at Radisson Blu.

LHVA chairman Wayne Topley said: “Leeds’ hospitality industry really is the beating heart of the city, and we’re thrilled the LHVA Awards made its welcome return last night to celebrate the hard work and talent of its team after a long two-year wait.

“We were delighted to partner with LEEDS 2023 as it is much more than celebrating the creative side of the city.

"It’s an opportunity to bring cultures together, build communities and networks, which have always been the core values of membership for LHVA.

"Plus, it will champion the hidden stories and unsung heroes of the city, as we do with our Awards event.”

This year’s theme was Refresh and Renewal and celebrated the explosion of colour, noise and brilliance of Leeds - marking an opening chapter for the city ahead of 2023’s Year of Culture.

LEEDS 2023 is planning a 12-month-long cultural celebration of the city and the hospitality industry will play a key role in the program of events.

Head of communications and marketing for LEEDS 2023, Claire Hutchinson, said: "From receptionists to concierges, people who work in hospitality are often the first individuals guests meet when they reach the city.

"They are ambassadors for Leeds and will be vital for promoting a fantastic visitor experience during our Year of Culture.

"This Year of Culture will be a transformational force for the city, and we want LHVA members to be at the forefront of our welcome, as the hospitality sector will play a vital part in the visitor experience and celebrations.”

The LHVA also partnered with Leeds bed charity Zarach, raising vital cash to support families in crisis during the event.

Here is the full list of winners:

Chairman’s Choice: Maureen Hezelgrave, Radisson Blu

Best Newcomer: Rachel Goacher, Doubletree by Hilton

Mentor of the Year: Richard Brown, Doubletree by Hilton

People’s Choice: Lamin Darboe, The Marriott

Unsung Hero: Collette Concannon, Clayton Hotel

Front of House Customer Service: Davinder Singh, The Queens

Back of House Customer Service: James McGrath, Dakota

Rising Star: Khya Ogbonson, Dakota

Top Team: Kitchen Team, Hilton Leeds City