Wednesday night’s Catering Insight Awards at the stunning Underglobe in Central London saw Bill Downie, Meiko UK MD, announced as the Lifetime Achievement Award winner this year.
The over 200-strong audience responded with a massive standing ovation to show their appreciation for the well-respected industry figure.
Unfortunately due to the sad recent passing of his wife Betty, Bill was not able to attend on the night, but he did pass a statement on to his longtime friend and industry colleague, Nick Howe, MD of Court Catering Equipment, to read out on his behalf.
This said: “I feel very honoured and privileged to have received this award from Catering Insight and at the same time very guilty for not being able to join you on this very special evening.
“As I approach retirement from an industry that has been in my blood since back in 1977 I reflect on the hundreds of friends, colleagues and competitors that I’ve had the privilege to know in the catering equipment industry, both here and overseas.
“I also reflect on my days heading up the business of what can only be described as possibly, the best employer and employee establishment to work for – Meiko. For without them, I would not be picking up this award and relaying this message.
“Ron Neville was the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 and for me to follow in Ron’s footsteps is indeed an honour. I would like to thank Catering Insight considerably, as it is an honour to follow Ron, one of the industry’s true gentlemen who I am proud to call my friend.
“At the end of March next year I will move back to my native Scotland to enjoy my retirement but I will take with me so many memories of my time at the helm of Meiko UK and of the many friendships I’ve made over the years.
“Thank you – to gain this award means so much to me and my family.”
Furthermore, the statement detailed that a Just Giving page is being put together for Age Concern Windsor, who provided care for Betty Downie for a number of years, enabling her to get some help during the day and giving Bill respite to be involved in his other passion – the catering equipment industry.
As soon as the link is live, we will update this story. However in the meantime, if you would like to donate to Age Concern Windsor, please visit its website here.