We asked a distinguished panel of travel industry judges to consider the impressive achievements of the four nominees below and to say who, in their opinion, merited a special award for exceptional achievements in their contribution to the mature travel sector. With grateful thanks to our judges: Denis Wormwell, CEO of Shearings; Peter Shanks, Development Director of Imagine Cruising; Andrew Williams, Managing Director of Solos Holidays; Hilary Bradt, founder of Bradt Guides; John McEwan former President of ABTA and Managing Director of Advantage.
What a wonderful line up of three of our Exceptional Achievement Award nominees Paul Bennett, Paddy Brice and Alex Roberts with our Patron, John Carter.
The nominations were:
Alex Roberts, Marketing Director, Great Rail Journeys
During his time as Marketing & Sales Director, the company has changed from a small business with 40 employees, to a FastTrack100 market leader with 140 staff carrying over 80,000 customers a year. Alex has always communicated effectively the enjoyment of rail travel for the silver travel market.
Paddy Brice, Managing Director, Richmond Villages and Richmond Retreats
Paddy joined in 2006 as Finance Director becoming MD in 2009, transforming both the finances and the management of the business, to the leader in its field. He is justifiably proud of his outstanding product, strong leadership team and a host of new changes and developments underway.
Andrew Cochrane, Founder and Managing Director, Noble Caledonia
Andrew set up Noble Caledonia using his past 25 years of experience in travel to launch a specialist small ship operator, itinerary driven and with quality vessels, expedition teams and guest speakers. Profitable from first year, the company turnover now exceeds £70million and enjoys huge customer loyalty from the silver sector.
Paul Bennett, Founder and Managing Director, Grand UK
Paul set up Grand UK Holidays – exclusively for the over 55s – in 1983 with his life savings of £500. Today they take over 100,000 people on holiday across their brands. The company ethos is about understanding and respecting the needs of customers, 83% of whom return each year.
And we are delighted to say that the winner is Paul Bennett of Grand UK Holidays! Paul received his Award from Dianne Jeffrey, Chairman of Age UK at the Vitality Ball at the Natural History Museum on June 4th 2015.