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Loo of the Year Awards – a major milestone – 25 years of success!
As the Loo of The Year Awards enters its 25th anniversary year the event’s managing director, Mike Bone, explains where it all began and what celebrations are in store for this milestone year.
Loo of the Year Awards began in 1987. Richard Chisnell was communications director of leading washroom service company Initial Textile Services and Martin Higham was a director of their external PR company and they decided to run a competition to find the best loos in Britain.
There were only entries and awards for Hotels and Restaurant toilets in 1987 and 50 guests attended the event which was held at the Le Meridien Hotel, Piccadilly, London. The winner was the Hatton Court Hotel, Upton St Leonards in the Cotswolds. The manager at the time commented the following year that their turnover had doubled since winning Loo of the Year Awards.
Since then over 60,000 loos have been inspected by Loo of the Year Inspectors and today entries include all types of toilets from eco loos with no electricity or running water to luxury portable toilets.
In 2012 there are nine main National Loo of the Year Awards – at least one for each of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and 13 UK Awards. There are also three National Attendant of the Year Awards - one for each nation.
Particularly memorable highlights include John Jenkinson, owner of the Evesham Hotel arriving at the 2006 Loo of the Year Awards Event dressed as a toilet duck! The hotel’s toilets are very quirky with various toilet memorabilia and humorous items – well worth a visit.
The 2005 Loo of the Year Awards Event coincided with the 2005 World Toilet Summit in Belfast. The first summit in the western world. This was very special for both the British Toilet Association (BTA) and the Loo of the Year Awards (LOYA) with visitors from around the world attending both events.
Entertainers and famous guests have presented the awards over the years. More recent entertainers included Sean Williamson 2011, Les Dennis 2010, Paul Daniels 2009, Roy Walker 2008 and Tom O’Conner 2007, Duchess of Northumberland 2006. We have also had the Duchess of Devonshire, Sir William Lawrence - foremost representative for the disabled and several Government Ministers. Paul Daniels was extremely professional and entertaining yet also very personable. He mingled with our guests and sponsors throughout the day and was highly regarded.
Media interest in the event been enormous. We have featured in all of the main cleaning and FM magazines as well as several consumer magazines. We have also been the subject of a host of TV programmes, including:
BBC One Life series prime time documentary on LOYA – For the love of loos 2007
Cwmida Welsh TV filmed 2011 Awards Event
Caravan Channel film 2011 – covered LOYA inspections
Wall Street Journal – video and editorial of Awards Event 2010
Steadfast TV filmed Awards Event for BBC documentary 2008
BBC Regional Radio following up local winners every year
Various short news items in national and regional press
Bee in Your Bonnet TV documentary – Amanda Platell
There will be film crews producing documentaries for both BBC and ITV at the 2012 Awards Event together with another team producing a short documentary for Loo of the Year Awards.
We have lots of excitement for the 25th Anniversary year celebrations. There will be a special awards event on 7th December with celebrity guests and entertainment by topical comedienne Shappi Khorsandi. We have also changed the grading system from a 1 – 5 star grading to Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum Awards .This will enable the very best toilets to be graded at a higher level than was previously possible.
Loo of the Year Awards has had numerous success stories. For example market leading companies using Headline Sponsorship of the Awards to promote their brand or new products. In recent years these have included Airdri raising it’s profile within the UK, Albany Washroom Services used raising its profile and expanding its service coverage from the Essex region to nationwide (Albany has subsequently merged with PHS), Dyson promoting it’s Airblade hand dryer, and in 2012 Lepicol promoting its natural health product for healthy bowels. The event has also proved a useful vehicle for many charity campaigns. Help the Aged for example used Associate Sponsorship of the event to publicise its ‘Nowhere to go’ survey and subsequent toilet campaigns.
We are delighted that Soluclean, a leading supplier of cleaning solutions to many markets, is a new Awards Supporter for 2012.
To find out more about getting involved in the 2013 awards, visit: www.loo.co.uk