Uppingham man James Torbell paid tribute to his late boss Robert Wills as he received the annual prestigious Rutland Biz Club Award for his significant contribution to the local business community.
James who is a director of Beaver Inns Ltd, the company that operates the Falcon Hotel, Don Paddy’s and the Vaults in Uppingham, impressed the judges with his professionalism and commitment in achieving success. They noted his career progress when he started out as an 18 year-old working in Don Paddy’s under the tutelage of owner Robert Wills, to become a highly competent hospitality manager.
James was awarded the Biz Club trophy and a given cheque for £500 to invest in a piece of local artwork, at the Biz Club’s monthly lunch at the Falcon Hotel. It was presented by speaker Dr Tom Tew from Stamford who is currently appointed by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson to be the natural heritage expert on the Board of the Heritage Lottery Fund & National Heritage Memorial Fund.
James told attendees: “I am here today because of the support and mentoring I received from a very special man, Robert Wills, who also received the Biz Club Award in 2009 for his achievements up until that time”.
James plans to use the £500 received from his award to commission local artist Anne Saviour to paint a portrait of Robert which he promised to bring along to a future Biz Club lunch on completion.
James said: “A frequent phrase said to me in the past few months has been, ‘you have big shoes to fill.’ No one will be able to fill those shoes, but myself and the team will work as hard as we can with Robert’s wife Carol and his daughter Phillipa to ensure we can do him proud and continue the work he started”.
Rutland Biz Club president Geoffrey Pointon paid tribute to James and the hard work he has put in to achieve his success. “James is a very worthy winner of this year’s Rutland Biz Club Award. The Committee had no difficulty in appreciating what he has achieved, particularly in recent months since the death of our great friend and supporter Robert Wills”.