The Aspire Awards winners revealed

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The biggest night in the travel agent calendar reached new heights last week with its?largest ever crowd and?an evening bursting with prizes and entertainment.

More than 850 people headed to Westminster Park Plaza for The Agent Achievement Awards on Wednesday to watch the best of the trade receive recognition for their?outstanding work.

The Aspire Awards, which form part of the AAAs, were a highlight of the evening thanks largely to the support of Celebrity Cruises, our awards partner.

Aspire awards 2

Bhav Taylor from Celebrity Cruises, who joined Aspire editor Rupert Murray on stage to hand out the awards, said: “Celebrity Cruises is honoured to?be the Aspire Awards sponsor. It is truly wonderful to be a part of this prestigious and inspiring awards ceremony.

“Combining the awards with afternoon tea at The Lanesborough was a great idea as it gave us the opportunity to meet with the Aspire finalists and spend some quality time with them before the main event.

“The ability to engage with agent partners and experience their emotions first hand when they collect their awards is so rewarding for us.

“Working with Aspire and Travel Weekly is a relationship which continues to go from strength to strength. Our partnership allows us to meet with new agent partners that are not only new to cruise but also new to brand.

Aspire awards

“The Aspire Awards is one of the unmissable events in our calendars and we are already looking forward to next year’s event.”

All the finalists were treated to a stunning afternoon tea at The Lanesborough hotel before heading to the main event to find out who the winners were over a three course meal.

The winners of the four awards were:

Aspire Agent of the Year
Debby King, Departure Lounge Travel

Aspire Extra Mile Award
Sue Welsh, Ace Travel 2

Aspire Booking of the Year
Trevor Ridler, Baldwins Travel

Aspire Supporter of the Year
Karl Kenworthy, Kenworthy Travel

Winner of the Extra Mile award Sue Welsh said: “I was and still am absolutely elated. It was a fantastic and very emotional evening.

“Sometimes when you work from home you can feel like nobody really notices what you do so to win an Aspire award, which are the cr??me de la cr??me of awards, is overwhelming.

“I love my job and have worked in travel for 26 years now so this really means a lot and it was one of the best nights I’ve had.

Supporter of the Year winner Karl Kenworthy said: “It was an awesome night from start to finish. I really enjoyed the afternoon tea at the Lanesborough all the way through to the end of the awards.

I’ve always found Aspire to be a really useful club to be part of. The forums especially give me great insight into suppliers and great contacts. Some of the things I’ve done through Aspire I could never have arranged on my own. It’s wonderful to have won an award, I couldn’t be happier.”

Travel Weekly Group editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley, said: “The AAAs continue to go from strength-to-strength as we recognise the best agents and agencies in the country, whether they are on the high street, in call centres, online or based from home.

“The fact we had dozens of people on a waiting list is testament to the place the awards hold in the hearts of our agent readers and the suppliers who want to celebrate their best trade partners.”

The 2016 awards were hosted by TV celebrity Stephen Mulhern alongside Lucy Huxley and Travel Weekly Group managing director Stuart Parish, with an array of entertainment and prize giveaways taking place throughout the evening.

The full list of other winners is below, and social media coverage from the night can be viewed here.

Outstanding Contribution to the Industry
Jeanne Lally, Travel Bureau Gosforth
Renford Sargent, Premier Travel
Roddie MacPhee, Barrhead Travel

Best Use of Social Media
Midcounties Co-operative Travel

Tipto Independent Agency of the Year
Triangle Travel

Clia Cruise Promotion
Su Dillon, Travel Counsellors

Promotion of the Year - Small Agency
Blue Bay Travel

Promotion of the Year - Large Agency
Imagine Cruising

Website of the Year - Small Agency

Website of the Year - Large Agency

Northern Ireland - Small Agency
Oasis Travel

Northern Ireland - Large Agency
Thomas Cook

Scotland - Small Agency
Ramsay World Travel

Scotland - Large Agency
Barrhead Travel

Northwest England and North Wales - Small Agency
Aspen Travel

Northwest England and North Wales - Large Agency
Althams Travel

Yorkshire, North Midlands and Northeast England - Small Agency
Aspen Travel

Northwest England and North Wales - Large Agency
Althams Travel

Yorkshire, North Midlands and Northeast England - Small Agency
Spear Travels

Yorkshire, North Midlands and Northeast England - Large Agency
Hays Travel

Central England - Small Agency
Carrick Travel

Central England - Large Agency
Midcounties Co-operative Travel

Southwest England and South Wales - Small Agency
Newell's Travel

Southwest England and South Wales - Large Agency
Miles Morgan Travel

London and Southeast England - Small Agency
Baldwins Travel

London and Southeast England - Large Agency
Thomas Cook

High Street Agency - Small Agency
Baldwins Travel

High Street Agency - Large Agency
Thomas Cook

Cruise Agency - Small Agency
The Cruise Village

Cruise Agency - Large Agency

Call Centre Agency
Reader Offers

Online Agency

Homeworking Agency
Travel Counsellors

Leisure Agent of the Year
Gill Williams, The Travel Village

Young Leisure Agent of the Year
Kelsey Goulding, Thomas Cook

Leisure Manager of the Year
Angela McCall, Central England Co-ope