Retailers, wholesalers, publishers and suppliers came together to celebrate 100 years of the NFRN at last week’s annual awards. We bring you the winners of the night 

Opening address

Mike Mitchelson
NFRN national president

“The Awards are a celebration of how far the NFRN has come, but they are also a look to the future at what our industry has to offer and the exciting challenges that are ahead. Life for the independent retailer now is very different to that of 100 years ago. There were challenges then, but today’s retail environment is more demanding and the pressures and operating costs are greater than ever. But we must look forward and lead retailers to a better future.” 

The awards 

Responsible Retailer of the Year

Bay Bashir

Belle Vue, Middlesbrough

“I was over the moon – it’s the first prize I’ve won under the Go Local fascia, so it means a lot. It’s a vote of confidence that the store is performing well. I’ve always considered responsible retailing to be part of a straightforward approach to retailing.”

Symbol Convenience Retailer of the Year

Peter Bhadal

Woodhouse Londis & Post Office, Leeds

“We are extremely grateful for the award. It’s great getting recognition for all the hard work and time that we have put into our store development and retail business over the past year. Reinvesting and restructuring our store in the past 12 months and creating benchmarks against industry standards has improved every aspect of our business.”

Community Retailer of the Year

Trudy Davies

Woosnam & Davies News, Wales

“I am amazed and delighted – what a wonderful thing to achieve. I am so chuffed for myself, my team, my dear customers for their support and Llanidloes as a tiny Welsh town of just 2,500 people. It all seems surreal – one day I’m on stage with Sir Trevor McDonald, and the next I’m back in my town doing what comes naturally to me.”

Newsagent of the Year

Richard Evans

Ombersley Road Post Office, Worcester

“It is an honour to be voted the best NFRN newsagent of 2019 across the UK and Ireland. It is, of course, a team effort, with my 12 delivery staff offering a reliable service all year, in all weathers, and my wife Donna and the other shop staff, who all work hard to deliver a friendly service in a bright uncluttered and ordered store.”

Home Delivery Agent of the Year

Chris Bridgett

Newark News, Nottinghamshire

“It is a great honour to be recognised for my contribution to home news delivery. HND is key to the success of my business, providing 80% of newspaper sales. I would like to thank the federation for this award and would like to thank my staff for all their hard work – this award is testimony to the hard work and professionalism of my team.”

Collectables Retailer of the Year

Andrew Howell

Loch Lomond News, Scotland

“Me and my whole team are delighted to have won this award as it is recognition for all the hard work and effort we all put in, in particular to the collectables category. It was fantastic to be part of the amazing event and I would like to thank Topps for their continued sponsorship of the award.”

Independent Convenience Retailer of the Year

Heather and Broderick Rigg

Skircoat Green Post Office, Halifax

“We are still buzzing. Getting into the final stages was already a real accolade for us, but when it came down to us having the chance of winning – I don’t think we’ve ever sweated so much. We were gobsmacked, especially because our backgrounds aren’t in retailing.” 

Home News Deliverer of the Year

Freddie Ankers

Carleton News, Poulton-le-Fylde

Shop owner Andy Malloy: “Myself and my wife are incredibly proud of what Freddie has achieved. He is an outstanding individual. He has been working for us for nearly three years, and the customers love him. He always covers everyone’s rounds if they are on holiday, too – he is so polite.”

Home News Deliverer of the Year – Merit

Alasdair Evans

Mitchelson’s News, Brampton

NFRN national president Mike Mitchelson: “Alasdair rushed into a river to save a seven-year-old boy who got into difficulty this year. It was a fantastic thing to do without even thinking, this sums up his character. He is hugely reliable and has been working for us for a couple of years now.” l

Centenary Awards

Longest Serving Active Members

Ralph Childs and Owen Church

Eastern Counties district

Great Yarmouth retailer Ralph has been a member for over 50 years and has represented members at branch, district and at national level as a Trustee. Owen (pictured) has been the local postmaster for 55 years. He joined in 1964 and has been involved at every level – as branch, district and national president.

Outstanding Contribution to News Industry

Lord Rothermere

Chairman of the Daily Mail & General Trust

“It is a great honour to receive this award from the NFRN. We have great, established relationships with our independent retailers across the nation and I’m proud to accept this award on behalf of the whole team, who work tirelessly to deliver impactful, agenda-setting news to communities on a daily basis.”

Outstanding Contribution to Retailing

Charles Wilson

Booker chief executive

“It is an honour that Booker has been recognised with this award. It is our privilege to serve thousands of independent retailers and we look forward to doing a good job for them in the years ahead. We congratulate the NFRN on reaching 100 and hope they prosper in the century ahead.”