Snooker champ Ronnie O’Sullivan’s favourite Sheffield hotel worker has plenty to smile about – after pocketing a top award, writes Graham Walker.
Das, aged 36, who works at the Copthorne Hotel, took ‘Rocket’ Ronnie’s shirts home to iron personally because the laundry service was closed late at night ahead of him playing at the Crucible.
She helped him look the part as he went out to win his fifth world championship and she did it with a smile.
Bosses said it highlighted her unquestionable commitment, praising her positive outlook, brilliant infectious smile and bubbly personality.
And Star readers voted her smiles ahead of the rest when they were asked to chose from 12 finalists to win the Hospitality Sheffield Awards category. Runner up was Daviesha Hall, night auditor at Double Tree by Hilton Sheffield Park Hotel.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our exclusive video report - including all the award winners.
The Sheffield Smile Award was one of seven honours at the 10th annual Hospitality Sheffield Awards, a glittering event at t Sheffield Hallam University, hosted by BBC presenter Tom Ingall, to celebrate the city’s hospitality heroes.
Das said: “I took Ronnie’s shirts home to iron and got them back to him at 2am to make sure he looked smart for the competition next morning. That’s something I’m proud of. I feel so special that I helped him to win the world championship.”
Of he win she said: “It’s brilliant. I keep smiling. It’s my nature. My dad also told me to smile even when I’m crying. He said don’t let the tear hide your beautiful heart. When I smile at people, people smile at me. I always joke to my colleagues that when I smile my face gets shorter. I don’t like to have a long face.”
Ian Slater, Chair of Hospitality Sheffield and General Manager of The Sheffield Metropolitan Hotel, said the awards recognise the talent, hard work and customer service skills of the often unsung heroes of Sheffield’s hospitality sector, including reception staff, housekeepers, night porters and more.
They make the city the best for customer service in the UK, according to a hotel.info survey of 25,700 hotel guests. Sheffield topped the UK list, with an average service rating of 8.46 out of 10.
Ian said: “Every year these awards become harder and harder to judge and I have no hesitation in saying that everyone who made the shortlist is a winner. The stories we heard spoke of exceptional dedication: from the maintenance man who drove 20 miles in the middle of the night to assist a colleague with a temperamental fire alarm, to the housekeeper who helped one of her team achieve his NVQ qualification, these are truly inspiring people who don’t seek praise but deserve it nonetheless.”
The awards were sponsored and backed by The Star, Mercury Taxis, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield College, AVC Event Management Services, Urban Planters and Sheffield Hallam Print Management Services.
A raffle raised £1,200 for Sheffield Children’s Hospital to support their Make it Better appeal and Hospitality Sheffield also launched a campaign to raise £25,000 by next year’s awards to fund a new state of the art bedroom at the hospital. Each of the organisation’s members have pledged to raise £1,000.
And the winners were:
Exceptional Customer Service: Winner, Becky Liston, Jurys Inn; Second, Zoe Wadworth, Hilton Hotel; Third, Kerry Proctor, Rutland Hotel. Innovator: Winner Karen Ashmore, DoubleTree by Hilton Sheffield Park Hotel; Runner up, Lee Crookes and Jason Horton, Rutland Hotel. Unsung Hero: Winner Tom Turton, DoubleTree by Hilton Sheffield Park Hotel; Runner up, Michael Quinn, Rutland Hotel.
Mentor of the Year: Anita Grelet, Copthorne Hotel; Runner up, Rebecca Dyche, DoubleTree by Hilton Sheffield Park Hotel. Shooting Star: Winner Samantha Humphrey, Jurys Inn; Runner up, Robert Clowes, Tankersley Manor. Team of the Year: Winner Premier Inn Team; Runner up the Quality Circle Team, Leopold Hotel; Runner up the Catering Services Team, Sheffield Hallam University. Sheffield Smile: Winner Das Batty, Copthorne Hotel; Runner up, Daviesha Hall, DoubleTree by Hilton Sheffield Park Hotel.
Special Award: Outstanding Services to Hospitality: John Janiszewski, Head of Department: Business Development Hospitality and Catering at Sheffield City College.