RESIDENT manager at The Devonshire Arms Hotel and Spa at Bolton Abbey, Chara Forrest, has been awarded a national Acorn Award which recognises the shining stars of the hospitality industry, with 30 industry professionals under the age of 30 years bestowed this honour annually by industry magazine, The Caterer.

The 30 winners from around the UK enjoyed a celebratory weekend and prize giving lunch at Rudding Park, in Harrogate, to collect their award trophies from Acorn Award sponsor, CH & Co’s Chief Operating Officer, Allister Richards and The Caterer magazine’s Managing Editor, Lisa Jenkins.

Each winner’s success is the result of their outstanding ability and application in their own specialist field within the industry, and each was nominated and voted for among their peer group. Chara celebrated her win in the company of other young hospitality industry professionals representing various roles, companies and geographical areas, all united in their dedication to their chosen careers and their exceptional qualities and abilities which have given them their stand-out factor.

The Devonshire Group’s Head of Operations Yorkshire, James O’Donnell said: “Chara has been with us for over three years now and her grass roots understanding of the industry, combined with her emotional intelligence and ability for enabling others to empower themselves with her encouragement and support, combined with her passion and creativity, make her an exemplary manager. She has a warm and caring personality which makes her popular with both guests and her colleagues alike. I am so proud that she has won this award.

“Chara is a pleasure to work with, and especially in the lockdown period has been an absolute rock, encouraging some members of her team to face and work through some rather dark times, both for the industry and personally. For me, it is her human empathy, mentoring skills and the ability to lead by example that makes her an exceptional leader in her field, not only today but also in the future.”

Chara moved into hospitality following her academic studies pre- and post-grad in psychology, having worked within two of the North’s leading hotels, Slaley Hall and the five red star Seaham Hall, where she attained the role of operations manager, joining The Devonshire Arms in November 2018 as deputy general manager.

The Acorn Award is another accomplishment in a growing number of professional achievements which include ‘Front of House Person of the Year’ at Seaham Hall; ‘Shooting Star’ nomination, the North East Hotel Association Awards; a scholarship to attend the ‘Executive Education Programme’ at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne and she has recently completed the ‘Stepping Up Programme’ via ILM, which has further developed her leadership skills.