It’s been a very mixed month full of excitement about the Forecourt Trader Awards; but also filled with such shock and sadness at the sudden death of Nick Lloyd, a genuinely all-round great guy, known particularly in the forecourt sector for the seven years he worked with Jeremy Symonds at Symonds Retail, during which time the company went from strength to strength, according to Jeremy.

"He was a professional, and apart from the business growing in numbers and performing to the highest standard, along the way there were many reasons for celebration," says Jeremy. "The high points were winning the Forecourt Trader of the Year award, and also the Golden Grocer award for the Best Independent chain.

"Nick had many strengths, but the one area he was very good at was inspiring many within our team he gave them the confidence to succeed and with his direction they went on to become excellent managers in their own right."

He had a very impressive CV, which included senior and strategic roles at Musgrave Retail Partners, Martin McColls and Roadchef. And as an illustration of the type of philanthropic man he was, he also volunteered to help refugees in Calais.

The pages of Forecourt Trader over those years reflect the great contribution he made in this market. He was always warm and friendly and ready with an appropriate comment. He certainly made his mark on the world. The church was packed. Everyone was shocked and bewildered at such a great loss. Comments reflected the great respect in which he was held. He was described as ’a driven retail professional’; ’inspirational and motivated’; kind and caring.

Our hearts go out to his wife and family...

It’s hard to move on from there, but I would like to congratulate our new Forecourt Trader of the Year Joe Barrett and John Diviney at Applegreen for the amazing motorway site on the M1 in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. It is a fantastic operation which raises the bar yet again on forecourt development. The awards night was a great occasion which showcased the tremendous work you’re all doing. Keep it up!