Vote now for your Leeds hospitality heroes

The judging panel for the LVHA Awards.
The judging panel for the LVHA Awards.
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THE best hospitality staff from across the city are being celebrated at a glittering awards ceremony – and we’re asking you to be the judges of a new award.

The Leeds Hotels and Venues Association (LHVA) Awards will be held at the Queen’s Hotel on Thursday, June 11 and voting for the People’s Choice Award opens on Tuesday, May 25.

The new award, which is sponsored by the Yorkshire Evening Post, aims to celebrate workers’ commitment to Leeds’ hospitality sector.

Hospitality managers throughout the region have nominated their most deserving staff for the award and seven nominees have been shortlisted.

The shortlisted entrants are Liz Mason from Village Hotel Leeds North; Janet McAteer from Hilton Leeds City; John Shields from Bewleys Hotel; Rachel Riches from Oulton Hall; Nick McCulloch from The Marriott Leeds; Linda Lockwood from the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Kenn Taylor from The Tetley.

The judging panel for the other LHVA Award categories is made up of leading experts from the industry, including representatives from Leeds Beckett University, Leeds City College, Leeds Bradford International Airport and the Institute of Hospitality.

To vote for the People’s Choice Award, e-mail and include ‘PEOPLE’S CHOICE’ in the subject box, followed by the full name of the person you want to vote for.

You are only allowed to vote once.

The LHVA Awards ceremony will be held at the Queens Hotel on June 11 and will be hosted by television presenter Harry Gration.

Liz Mason, Village Hotel Leeds North

Liz joined the hotel in 1996 and has worked there for 19 years.

During this time she has taken on many roles including PA to the general manager, human resources and various reception-based roles.

She is described as ‘a fountain of knowledge within the hotel’ and ‘the go to person for information and advice,’ as well as ‘a great source of inspiration for other team members’.

She is always full of energy and enthusiasm, and her attention to detail is ‘second to none’.

Liz is described as ‘a truly outstanding member of the team’.

Janet McAtter, PA to the general manager, Hilton Leeds City

Janet is the driving force for charity work and fundraising at Hilton Leeds City.

She takes ownership of all fundraising projects and always gets personally involved, from coffee mornings and cake sales to getting a team together to work at a local homeless shelter for the day.

Janet has also arranged for groups of Scouts and Brownies to come into the hotel and experience the hospitality industry.

She works with a number of local and national charities and is always willing to give up her free time to support many of these worthy causes.

Last year Janet helped raise £6,500 for Macmillan and is determined to raise more this year.

She is described as ‘a true inspiration’.

John Shields, commis chef, Bewleys Hotel

John started at Bewleys in 2013 after visiting with his tutor from Leeds City College.

They gave their CVs to the duty manager with a view to having one-day-a-week work experience.

John has Down’s Syndrome and he and his fellow students had varying degrees of learning difficulties.

What followed was an eye-opener and from that moment it became a simple decision to accept John onto the placement.

As a result, John now works at Bewleys on a part-time, paid basis and is a fully-fledged member of the kitchen team.

He is described as always giving 110 per cent and is ‘an absolute joy to have on board’.

Rachel Riches, sales manager, Oulton Hall

At the end of 2014, Rachel was diagnosed with breast cancer and has been described as ‘remarkable’ and ‘truly inspirational’.

After each chemotherapy treatment Rachel is back to work in less than a week and is adamant not to have people feel sorry for her.

Since losing her hair, she has hours of fun confusing people with different wigs and has even been known to wear three different wigs in one day!

Rachel feels that humour is the key to remaining positive and has proved to be an incredibly dedicated member of the team.

Nick McCulloch, junior sous chef, Marriott Leeds

Nick has only been at the hotel for six months and was ‘instantly a joy to work with’.

He was quickly promoted to junior sous chef within his first three months and helps organise charitable events and fundraising throughout the hotel.

He is described as ‘extremely hard-working’ and leads by example.

Nick encourages the team to use regional and seasonal produce to showcase Yorkshire at its finest and was the driving force behind the launch of the new 1871 Bar and Grill menu.

Linda Lockwood, housekeeping supervisor, Cosmopolitan Hotel

Linda has been at The Cosmopolitan Hotel for 14 years and her commitment is described as ‘second to none’, and she often acts as a mother hen to a lot of younger staff members as well as bringing up her own four children single-handedly.

Linda and her team always ensure the bedrooms are finished to a fantastic standard and she always has a smile on her face and never complains.

She has an ‘amazing ability’ to make others smile and is described as ‘selfless’, with ‘an above and beyond attitude’.

Kenn Taylor, curator of participation, The Tetley

Kenn is described as ‘an asset’ to The Tetley and the city of Leeds, working tirelessly to enable people of all ages and backgrounds to participate in, learn from and enjoy contemporary art.

He has worked hard to forge partnerships with a range of groups from schools, universities and visual arts organisations, encouraging creativity at a range of levels.

This has led to projects with Pyramid of Arts, the establishment of Art Smart Superstars after school club and projects with local GCSE students soon to be showcasing their first exhibition at The Tetley.

Kenn has also led projects for young people as part of the council’s city centre regeneration plans.