Valerie Dowling (left) of Mace Approach, a BP service station in Andover, Hampshire, is the winner of the Forecourt Category of the Sales Assistant of the Year Awards 2009, run by Forecourt Trader’s sister publication Convenience Store.

She was presented with the award by celebrity Anthea Turner and Forecourt Trader editor Merril Boulton at a celebration lunch at the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane. Val has worked for Mace Approach for six years and the judges described her as a very skilled supervisor who can stand in for the manager when needed and was on 24-hour call to dash to the site in an emergency.

She goes out of her way to help a regular disabled customer who can’t leave his car, but also has the steel to refuse a sale of cigarettes because she believed they were going to be passed on to a child. She impressed the panel of judges with her bubbly enthusiasm for life at the Mace forecourt store. She’s very popular with customers, many of whom now feature on her Facebook page.