Mitchell scoops top award

Biggest honour in annual OLN Drinks Retailing Awards goes to an independent for the first time

Shopkeeper John Mitchell became the first independent to be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement trophy at this week's Drinks Retailing Awards.

Mitchell won recognition for 40 years of enthusiasm and innovation. He received his trophy in front of a packed ballroom at London's Dorchester Hotel.

He told the audience it was an "honour" to be given the award. He said: "I was very honoured to win off- licence of the year in 1994, which was my biggest achievement.

"Since then we have entered many awards and it's always kept us on our toes and standards high, but this was the crowning glory. After 40 years in the trade I am absolutely over the moon."

Thresher reclaimed its crown as high street chain of the year , fending off stiff

competition from both Majestic and Bargain Booze.

The victory was one of the big talking points of a night which also saw ­Sainsbury's and Waitrose picking up three and two awards respectively. Other winners from the multiple sector included Tesco, Booths and the Co-op.

Thresher chief executive Roger

Whiteside said he was "delighted" with the accolade. He said: "To get recognition is great, it's a badge we can wear with pride. I want the whole team to share in the success. It's been a good year and I hope this sort of recognition will strike a chord with everyone."

More pictures and reports will appear in the Feb 23 edition of OLN.