Edgehill licensee wins industry awards battle

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Licensee of the Year 2017 Mark Higgs (seated), who runs the Castle at Edgehill, toasts his success with colleagues, Vasil Kostou, commis chef, Matthew Ayers, head chef, Milena Nowacka, kitchen porter and Lisa Irons, head house keeper. Photo: Mark Williamson. (E10/6/17/5400)

THE British Institute of Innkeeping Licensee of the Year is Mark Higgs who runs the Castle at Edgehill.

The industry’s toughest competition came to a dramatic close on Tuesday, 13th June, with Mark Higgs beating the five other finalists to the top spot and winning Licensee of the Year 2017, this year sponsored by Sky.

Mark said: “It feels very good to win one of the most rigorous awards in the industry, I’m chuffed for the team. We will use the award to do some good for the pub.

“When I was announced as winner at the awards ceremony I got a standing ovation from 1,000 people which doesn’t happen very often. It’s also an award for the fabulous team we have around us.”

Mark and his wife Claire redeveloped the Castle at Edgehill in Easter 2014. It now has four bedrooms with two more under construction.

Once he was nominated for the award by Hook Norton Brewery he had to produce an eight-page business paper for a panel of judges, partake in a mystery visit, be interviewed four times and at the finals at Sky Studios he was interviewed by various CEOs from all business levels who quizzed him about his business development plan, people training strategy and financial awareness.

Mike Clist, chief executive of the British Institute of Innkeeping, said: “I’d like to offer a massive congratulations to Mark and his team at the Castle at Edgehill on behalf of myself and everyone here at the Institute.

“This is a tough competition to win, but Mark’s dedication and passion shone through to the judges and I am sure he will be an excellent ambassador for this great industry of ours.

“I’d also like to congratulate our other finalists for getting this far and being such brilliant candidates — it really was a tough decision.”

As winner of Licensee of the Year competition Mark will receive a European Study Trip to Amsterdam, a year’s free subscription to Sky Sports, honorary lifetime membership of the BII, a year’s free PR support and a ‘party in the pub’ to help locals celebrate his success.

“Winning this award will help give me a platform to champion this great sector, I feel so proud to be an ambassador for the British Institute of Innkeeping in an industry I absolutely love,” Mark said.