Martin Ballard, executive head concierge at London’s Claridge’s hotel is the only operator to be recognised for his hospitality work in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
A mainstay of the front office team at the five-red-AA-star, 197-bedroom hotel for nearly 40 years, Ballard received a MBE for services to the hotel, tourism and hospitality industries.
Frequently referred to as the Lord of the Lobby, he is a well-known character among Claridge’s regular guests for securing much sought-after tickets for sold- out West End shows and sporting events.
Ballard first joined Claridge’s in 1980 as a page boy. He took a one-year break away from the hotel in 1991 before returning the following year. In an interview on Claridge’s website, he said: “My contacts book covers every eventuality and budget.”
When Claridge’s general manager Paul Jackson returned to the hotel in 2016, 26 years after he last worked at the property, he said that Ballard was one of the members of staff he vividly remembered from his first stint at the property.
Meanwhile, Sean Wheeler, director of people development of Kimpton and Regent Hotels at IHG was rewarded with a BEM for voluntary services in recognition of his work as chair at Thames Valley Positive Support.
A number of suppliers to the hospitality and tourism operators were also recognised in the list. They included:
Anthony Laithwaite, founder of Laithwaite’s Wine for services to the UK and global wine industry
Ronald Randall, director, Randall Parker Food Group, for services to the British meat trade and charity
Robin Gourlay, associate at Scotland Food and Drink, for services to the Scottish food and drink industry
Catherine Mead, owner of Lynher Dairies, for services to cheese making and the community in the south west of England.
Andrew Kemp, group sales and marketing director, Bidfood, for services to the hospitality industry
David McKown, head of training and quality, accommodation and commercial services at the University of Sheffield, and director of Skills for Chefs, for services to hospitality and catering training
Christine Sloan, founder, Crathie Opportunity Holidays, for services to people with disabilities and to tourism
David Smythe, chairman, Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, and chairman, Perthshire Tourism Partnership, for services to the tourism industry
Katherine Taylor, owner and director, Drewton’s, for services to the economy and community, Yorkshire