Hand Picked Hotels retains its crown as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Challenge Champions 2011
Hand Picked Hotels has been crowned The DofE Challenge Champions 2011, after winning the Yorkshire Dales Challenge event (10-11 September) for the second year running.
The unassailable team of six, led by Mark Clayton, manager of Crathorne Hall Hotel in Yarm, North Yorkshire, beat off more than 100 competitors to take the title, after trekking 30 miles in glorious sunshine and horizontal rain through Ribblesdale, near Settle. Participants also had to chart the River Ribble in a raft they had made and spend a night under canvas in the stunning Gordale Scar campsite near Malham, to raise money for the charity, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. .
Teams tried their hand at archery and had to abseil up rock faces on day one of the challenge. The highlight of the weekend came on Sunday, when the teams scaled the extraordinary Gordale Scar Waterfall; a terrifying achievement for all that took part.
Mark Clayton, Hand Picked’s team captain, said they were thrilled with the result:
“We’re delighted to have won again! This year’s challenge was even better than last – the Yorkshire Dales made an amazing setting, and we had to pull out all the stops to come first, the competition was tough. We did take a small detour via a supermarket on the first day, because the team forgot the salt and pepper, but it didn’t slow us down. We’ll be back next year, wherever it takes place, to see if we can make it a hat-trick!”
The team comprised Mark Clayton, General Manager, Crathorne Hall Hotel,Yarm, North Yorkshire, Nigel Rumsey, Health Club Manager, Nutfield Priory Hotel & Spa, Nutfield, Surrey, Steven Day, Health Club Manager, New Hall Hotel & Spa, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, Lisa Nugent, Health Club Manager, Rhinefield House Hotel, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, Kevin Crouch, Health Club Manager, Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa, Fawkham, Kent, and Andrew Smith, Fitness Manager, Rookery Hall Hotel & Spa, Nantwich, Cheshire.
The event has raised more than £30,000 for the DofE charity, with £1,200 raised by the Hand Picked team. Hand Picked Hotels swept the awards, winning the prizes for the best raft, and the best dressed, with all team-members wearing bow-ties for the occasion.
The Challenge is not designed for elite athletes but for those with a reasonable level of fitness and the determination to succeed. It offers numerous benefits to business, including personal development and team-building, as well as giving a taster of what DofE participants endure.
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About Hand Picked Hotels
The award-winning Hand Picked Hotels collection, created by former City lawyer Julia Hands, are luxurious country house hotels renowned for exquisite food, fine wines and excellent service in stylish, relaxing surroundings. There are 17 hotels across the UK, with locations ranging from the New Forest and Jersey to Yorkshire and Edinburgh. Hand Picked Hotels focuses on the quality of its service and cuisine and 15 hotels have achieved two AA rosette status with Norton House Hotel & Spa in Edinburgh winning three AA rosettes. In addition Norton House Hotel & Spa was awarded AA Hotel of the Year for Scotland 2008-2009. Six hotels have achieved red star status, being recognised as amongst the AA's Top 200 hotels in the UK & Ireland. In 2007, Julia Hands was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to the hospitality industry.
From Left to Right: Kevin Crouch, Health Club Manager, Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa, Fawkham, Kent, Steven Day, Health Club Manager, New Hall Hotel & Spa, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham; Lisa Nugent, Health Club Manager, Rhinefield House Hotel, Brockenhurst, Hampshire; Nigel Rumsey, Health Club Manager, Nutfield Priory Hotel & Spa, Nutfield, Surrey; Andrew Smith, Fitness Manager, Rookery Hall Hotel & Spa, Nantwich, Cheshire; Mark Clayton, General Manager, Crathorne Hall Hotel, Yarm, North Yorkshire