Many congratulations to everyone at Sewell Retail, and especially to Patrick and David, our new holders of the Forecourt Trader of the Year trophy. What a success story for them, with three of the company’s sites winning top awards, and a fourth coming very close. (Full coverage starts on page 39).

They’ve certainly been very busy in recent years, developing not only some high quality, well-run sites, but also creating an equally great team of people to play their part in operating them to a very high standard. Patrick and David have taken the time to really get the staff involved in the business and feel part of it. It’s not unusual to see a sizeable group of Sewell people on study trips abroad, such as with the ACS, or travelling to the American fuel and convenience show, NACS, so that they can see for themselves how things are done elsewhere. They’ve been able to make their own observations, contribute their own ideas not to mention benefit from the great bonding aspect of a few days away with colleagues (and I don’t just mean drinks at the bar, though that may have helped...!). They’re a great bunch; they put a lot of effort into their entries; and it has all paid off for them. They thoroughly deserve their wins this year. Well done.

Judging by the response, a great time was had by all at the awards ceremony last month, and if the event was any kind of gauge as to the enthusiasm and drive within the petrol retailing sector, it was extremely heartening. It’s very tough out there, but through sheer hard work and innovation, the standards in our industry continue to rise the awards clearly show that and we should all be proud of what’s being achieved. Every month in Forecourt Trader we cover stories of retailers, their plans and their developments. Just look at this month’s story about the George Hammond group’s Dover South site. One to watch. And then there are the characters like Clive Gardner (see page 82). Hilarious.