A PAINTER and decorator who helped to keep a hotel looking its best for more than half a century has been recognised with a tourism award.

Unsung heroes of the industry were honoured at the North East Hotels Association annual Excellence Awards ceremony, hosted in Newcastle by BBC Breakfast presenter Steph McGovern last weekend.

Winners were picked by a panel of independent judges from a shortlist of nominees in ten categories.

Among them was John Brewster, aged 74, who received a special Lifetime Achievement Award for a career spanning 56 years’ as a painter and decorator at Ramside Estates, the owners of Ramside Hall in Durham.

Seaham Hall’s Danielle Mottram won the award for the warmest welcome experience and Dannika Bilton was voted an exceptional team member in the health and wellness category.

Other winners were: inspirational leader, Nikki Younger, Copthorne Hotel, Newcastle; cleanliness, house keeping team at Copthorne Hotel; rising star, Olivia Morley, of Malmaison Newcastle; service excellence, Laura Ann Wilson from New Northumbria Hotel; sales excellence, Claire Davies from Doubletree by Hilton Newcastle Airport; support services, David Slaughter at Staybridge Suites Newcastle; best newcomer, Andrew Jennison, Rockliffe Hall; and community award, the blue energy committee at Newcastle Gateshead Hilton.

Lisa Crocker, joint chair of the North East Hotels Association said: “The Excellence Awards provide a unique opportunity to celebrate the diverse range of talent in our industry.

“The calibre of all the nominees was extremely high and a perfect demonstration of exactly why the North East’s hospitality industry is second to none. All the winners represent the very finest in their categories and I would like to congratulate them all and everyone who entered.”