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Tue 2nd Jun 2015 - Keith and Diane Marsden named as the UK’s top publicans
Keith and Diane Marsden named as the UK’s top publicans: Husband and wife team Keith and Diane Marsden, from The Prince of Wales in Birmingham, have been named as the 2015 Licensees of the Year, sponsored this year by BT Sport. The award recognises the country’s top-performing licensee with a passion for the trade and is regarded as the industry’s most coveted award, with finalists undergoing a rigorous four-stage judging process. Bruce Cuthbert, BT Sport’s director of commercial customers, said: “We are delighted to have sponsored the industry’s most sought-after award in its thirtieth year. Keith and Diane are a great example of the excellence that exists within the licensed trade.” It is second time lucky for multiple operators Keith and Diane Marsden, who made it to the semi-finals in 2014. With Keith’s background in advertising and Diane’s former tour guide experience, the couple worked together to create a unique atmosphere at the traditional wet-led pub in the heart of Moseley village, which is known for its large beer garden that boasts a cocktail bar, alongside cigar and wine sheds. The couple, who have worked in the industry for ten years, have run the Spirit Lease pub since 2007 and have a clear plan and strategy that permeates every team member. Keith Marsden said: “This is the biggest accolade you can get, and receiving recognition from your peers to say that you are at the top of your game is a bonus. Winning the Licensee of the Year Award really is the icing on the cake, it means so much to us and our staff, we can’t wait to get the team together to share our success with them,” added Diane Marsden. Sue Allen, commercial and membership director of the BII, said, “There was an excellent standard of finalists this year, but Keith and Diane really went the extra mile. With innovative ideas, together with their sheer passion for our industry and their huge focus on their people, the couple really stood out from the crowd.” The announcement was made at the BII Summer Event and Annual Lunch, which took place at the Artillery Garden of the Honourable Artillery Company today. Speaking at the Summer Event, Stephen Glancey, chief executive of the C&C Group, the main sponsor of the event, also announced that the BII are bringing back the National Innkeeping Training Awards (the NITAs) this autumn. To mark this, he presented an inaugural NITA award, the Franca Knowles Live your Life Award to Chesca Knowles, daughter of the late Franca Knowles, who sadly passed away in November 2014. Together with her husband Keith, Franca championed training and people development at Beds & Bars and was the winner of a number of NITA awards. Awarded an MBE in 2008 for her services to skills training, Franca was a huge believer in training innovation and sharing best practice and her famous words “Live your Life” have named this inaugural trophy. “We passionately believe that the licensed trade is a people business and that well-trained people will generate a stronger future for the licensed trade. The BII is playing an exceptionally strong role in helping achieve this,” said Glancey. Other awards presented on the day were: SABMiller Scholars Programme Award sponsored by SABMiller – winner Emily Whewall: Jeremy Allen Award sponsored by Poppleston Allen – winner Mark Thornhill; Beer Sommelier of the Year Award sponsored by The Institute of Brewing & Distilling – winner Rod Jones; Fundraiser of the Year sponsored by PubAid – winner Nigel and Sue Anstead; Apprentice of the Year sponsored by Fuller, Smith & Turner – winner Neringa Markeviciute.


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