Husband and wife team Alex and Tanya Williams (pictured), of the Polgooth Inn, Cornwall, have beaten off competition from more than 200 other entries to be named BII Licensees of the Year.
Alex and Tanya made it through to the final judging day of the British Institute of Innkeepers contest, where
they displayed excellent knowledge and experience across three areas: business development, people and training, and financial awareness.
They picked up the trophy in front of a packed audience at the BII Summer event at the Honourable Artillery Company venue in the City of London, attended by the brightest and best from the industry.
Attending alongside fellow members of the Polgooth Inn team, Tanya said: “It’s slightly surreal, but it feels amazing. The BII Summer Party is such a massive event so it’s an honour even to be here, let alone win.
“The whole team has worked so hard to make this award a reality so we have to say a huge thank you to all of our staff. The competition process was so tough, so you have to believe in what you are doing, that it is the right thing to do. The other finalists are so amazing — we have all become friends.”
David Rey, managing director of Sky Business, which sponsored the contest, said: “A huge congratulations to Alex and Tanya in winning the Licensee of the Year Award. Sky is delighted to sponsor this award and play a part in recognising the individuals that have achieved so much in the industry.”
Mike Clist, chief executive of the BII, added: “I’d like to offer a massive congratulations to Alex and Tanya and the team at the Polgooth Inn, on behalf of myself and everyone here at the BII. This is a tough competition to win, but it was clear to the judges that the Williams had the dedication and passion deserving of Licensee of the Year winners.
“I’d also like to congratulate our other finalists for getting this far and being such fantastic candidates — it really was a tough decision as they all brought something unique to the competition.”
As Licensees of the Year, Alex and Tanya will receive a study trip to Amsterdam, courtesy of Heineken, and honorary lifetime membership of the BII.
Alex said: “Running a pub is far more than a job, it’s a way of life, and so it’s truly important, not just for Tanya and me and our family, but also for the wider team and the community we live in.
“We all work hard to make the pub the focal point of the village and to make it work for everyone, so picking up an award like this is a huge thing for us, and we’d like to thank the BII and St Austell Brewery for their support
throughout the judging process.”
The Polgooth Inn was one of two St Austell Brewery pubs to have made it through to the BII finals, with Kim Barker, of the Ship Inn, Pentewan, also up for the main award.