Reports and pictures from another record-breaking UK Pool & Spa Awards…

A RECORD-BREAKING turn-out gathered for the 2023 UK Pool & Spa Awards held at Birmingham’s prestigious National Conference Centre.

A record-breaking turn-out gathered for the 2023 UK Pool & Spa Awards held at Birmingham’s prestigious National Conference Centre venue in December. Celebrating its 13th year, the 2023 UK Pool & Spa Awards saw 97 companies submit 242 entries attracting nearly 5,000 on-line contest votes.

The huge crowd cheered, laughed, and even shed a few tears but most of all they got into the party spirit as the industry came together to celebrate a notable year battling against a combination of business challenges. A staggering 36 companies were declared winners in one or more of the 30 plus categories as social media channels lit up with news of winning performances.

The combination of on-line votes and judges’ points are scrutinised by the UK Pool & Spa Awards specialist jury who award standards to all entries at Gold, Silver and Bronze level. Buckingham Pools, with seven wins and 13 Gold Standards, were top performing swimming pool contractors.

AN OUTSTANDING eight-piece band ensured guests were dancing into the wee hours.

Aqua Platinum Projects took four category wins with Topline Pools & Wellness notching up an impressive hat-trick of wins. With an outstanding bunch of five wins, Superior Wellness was the top performing company in the hot tub sector winner with celebrations galore for Hot Tubs Oxfordshire, Hot Tubs Rock and MySpa. The event returned to the National Conference Centre for the second year.

Guests picked up their event goodie bags on arrival and mingled with sponsors for the popular pre-dinner networking event before sitting down to a Xmas themed meal. Celebration cakes were delivered to four companies marking special anniversaries – 20 years for the Aqua Warehouse Group; 25 years for SCP UK, 40 years for Home Counties Pools & Spas and a whopping 50 years for Falcon Pools.

The presentations proper opened with the announcement of a new trophy to mark the significant loss of Adam Palmer, 45, a director of Bell Leisure Swimming Pools. Rising through the ranks, showing an outstanding talent for technical swimming pool work, Adam was a great manager but his true passion was being on site with his fellow work team invariably to be found in a muddy hole, repairing pipework or fixing a problem.

“We are an extremely close team at Bell Leisure and the loss of such a fantastic colleague has hit us all extremely hard,” explained fellow Bell Leisure director, Paul McMichael. “Adam had time for everyone, was a great listener and problem solver and would do anything for anyone, but always with a wicked sense of fun and humour.”

IT WAS A MEMORABLE EVENING for the Home Counties Pools & Spas team as they celebrated 40 years of outstanding business.

The Adam Palmer Memorial Shield, sponsored by Bell Leisure, will be presented annually to the UK Pool & Spa Awards Swimming Pool Technician Of The Year. The stand-out inaugural winner was Neuman Aqua’s Commissioning Engineer, Joe Currie.

Boasting Institute of Swimming Pool Engineers, Swimming Pool Technical Operator and Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme accreditation, in nominating him, Joe’s colleagues remarked on his insatiable appetite for knowledge – if there is something to learn he wants to learn

Only occasionally presented, the evening saw John Cheek, of Hydrospec, receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. John has worked in the industry for more than 50 years and maintains an unrivalled performance bar for his company and his clients.

Particularly knowledgeable on historic pool projects, John was commended for his passion, his dedication but particularly for his voluntary and knowledgeable contributions through the Institute of Swimming Pool Engineers. A special achievement award was presented to Craig and Gill Trusson of Home Counties Pools & Spas for their service to the industry.

Craig has served as ‘poacher and gamekeeper’ on both sides of the fence, initially working with SCP UK before taking over the Home Counties business with Gill at his side. Poignantly, their prize was presented by lifetime industry friend Jürgen Koenig of Bayrol. Coping with market changes, economic and pandemic repercussions have brought out the best in many companies.

THERE WAS a Lifetime Achievement Award for Hydrospec’s John Cheek.

But the UK Pool & Spa Awards jury particularly wanted to praise the efforts of one particular team and their combined efforts following catastrophic flooding caused by Storm Babet. The audience fell silent as they saw a moving video that showed the devastation caused to Superior Wellness at their Chesterfield base where stock, showroom and offices were all ravaged by the flood.

Team members and their families, even some children, turned out to help repel the flood water and help get Superior Wellness running again as quickly as possible. “This has 100% made us stronger as a team,” Rob Carlin, Managing Director said. “Thank you to every single team member, friends and family members who came to help.

“Strangely it has been one of the happiest days I’ve ever had. The way everyone has come together is truly amazing. Forever grateful – what a team.” Showroom of the Year titles were split by the jury this year between swim spas, hot tubs and pool and spa showrooms with wins for Aqua Warehouse Group, Hot Tubs Rock, Home Counties Pools and Spas and Wensum Pools and Spas.

THE BELL LEISURE TEAM presented the inaugural Adam Palmer Memorial Shield to Neuman Aqua’s Joe Currie.

Rewarded for their continual investment in exciting and innovative products, and their enthusiastic as well as knowledgeable commitment at both consumer and trade shows, 1 Stop Spas were clear winners of the Spa Retailer Of The Year title. Awarded based on trade nominations, the runaway winners of the Pool Trade Suppliers of the Year were Lighthouse Pools who were universally praised for their quality of product and customer service support.

The Pool Contractor Of The Year title went to Cornwall Pools who attracted the most nominations from industry suppliers. With over 25 years experience, Cornwall Pools sets out to offer the discerning pool owner the complete professional package of design and pool build installation as well as a comprehensive service, maintenance and refurbishment service.

As always the product categories in both pool and spa sectors were crammed with likely candidates for awards. The jury singled out winners for their stand-out differences, eco-credentials and, their saleability. One of the biggest cheers of the night came from Serco Leisure team celebrating taking the Leisure Operator Of The Year title for the fifth time in six years.

MORE THAN 300 UK POOL & SPA AWARDS guests were welcomed with goodie bags on arrival, this year sponsored by SCP UK.

The Water Leisure Venue Of The Year went to Ustigate Waterplay for its Clapham Water Play project. “It may have been a more challenging year for many companies on both pool and spa sides, but the vibe for this year’s event was palpably upbeat as a record number came together to celebrate across- the-board water leisure industry achievements,” commented Christina Connor, Managing Director of the UK Pool & Spa Awards organiser, Waterland Media.

“Once again the event has provided a platform for a record number of companies to promote their business to their target audiences while at the same time, raising valuable profile for the leisure industry as a whole,” she added. “Many of the winning projects will be featured across Waterland Media titles over the coming year, another promotional boost for the entrants,” she continued.

“The UK Pool & Spa Awards will be back for 2024 even bigger and stronger and I would urge everyone to get involved and see what all the fuss is about!” With sponsorship opportunities still available, entries for the 2024 competition open from May. All enquiries regarding the UK Pool & Spa Awards can be emailed to awards@thewaterlandgroup.com