A mainstay of Preston city centre has been recognised during an awards night.Advertisement
Margaret Mason has been running her florist on Friargate for 52 years.
During the Preston It Smiles Better Awards Margaret was honoured with an outstanding contribution award for her role in the city centre.
She said: “I definitely wasn’t expecting that, I am absolutely delighted.
“But it is not just me, it is the whole team that does it. We are just a team, we work together and I wash up just the same as everybody else washes up.
“My goodness, I couldn’t believe it. I just couldn’t believe it. It made me cry. I know it is not supposed to but I was so surprised. I really appreciate it.”
The awards, held at the Evoque nightclub, recognised the best in Preston’s city centre and retailers.
BBC Radio Lancashire presenter John Gillmore presented the awards.
He said: “Margaret began her business in Preston some 52 years ago and still trades from the exact same location.
“She has seen fellow businesses arrive and leave and remains fiercely loyal to Proud Preston.
“There isn’t a person in the city centre that doesn’t know Margaret’s name, nor instantly recognise her warm smile and positive demeanour.
“Margaret is a stalwart, a heroine and an all-round amazing lady.”
The awards are organised by Preston Business Improvement District – responsible for promoting the city centre – and backed by the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.
Chief executive of the chamber of commerce, Babs Murphy, said: “It was a real pleasure to give a special award to Margaret, who has significantly showcased outstanding service in Preston City Centre.
“The BID team has done a sterling job in bringing the hospitality and retail community of Preston together for this event and deserve a lot of credit for all they have done for the city centre over the past six years.”
David Gest was the special guest at the awards which saw Baluga named club of the year.
Gest is preparing to come to Preston Guild Hall on September 25.
He said: “I love Preston. I have been to Preston a few times. Recently to the Guild Hall to see it because that is where I am performing in September and also I think there was a few nights I went drinking in Preston about five years ago and I had a good time.
“It has got a lot of great restaurants and a lot of great bars, great venues to play and a lot of great clubs so I am thrilled to be here.”
Almost 100,000 votes were cast in the awards which used to be the Alive After Five Hospitality Awards but were expanded to include retail businesses in the city centre.
Mark Whittle, manager of Preston BID, said: “The ceremony could not have gone any better and everyone had a really good time.
“The whole point of the awards was to celebrate how far Preston has come in recent years. The city centre now has such a vibrant and welcoming nightlife that caters for all ages and backgrounds and is also a fantastic place for people to shop and to do business.
“I would like to thank Evoque nightclub for being the perfect hosts and the Guild Hall who provided a first-class meal. This teamwork really embraced the theme of the night which was to bring the city together to celebrate how great it is.
“The awards themselves have really captured the imaginations of the people of Preston and proved once again how proud this city is. It Smiles better!”
Who won what?
Leisure manager of the year – Fran Toal, Turtle Bay
Retail manager of the year – Tom Baker, Office
Best customer service (retail) – Luke Pennington, Subway
Entertainer of the year – DJ Ben Fuller, Warehouse
Best customer service (leisure) – Lauren Nutten, MACs bar
Club of the year – Baluga
Restaurant of the year – Turtle Bay
Pub of the year – The Adelphi
Bar of the year – Popworld
Independent retailer of the year – Coco Boo
Multiple retailer of the year – Debenhams
Outstanding achievement (retail) – Gwena Liptrot, PDSA
Outstanding achievement (leisure) – Phil Bowers, Hartleys
Customer service champion – Andrea Mellon, Duk-Pond
More pictures from the night can be viewed on the Preston At Night Facebook page.
Were you at the awards do? Did you vote? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below