Community awards countdown

Community awards countdown

It’s just two months until we roll out the red carpet for the fifth Community Awards of Mayfair & St James’s.



Help us to find the very best people and places in this unique part of London by nominating your favourites for the 10 awards.

Who are your winners?

Let us know your suggestions for: Lifetime Achievement, Commercial Newcomer, Bright Young Thing (aged 35 and under), Hospitality Hero, Unsung Hero, Long Service, Putting Something Back, At Your Service, Only in Mayfair and Only in St James’s.



Your nominations will be shortlisted and selected by a panel of judges. 

Winners will collect their awards at a glamorous evening of champagne and canapés, which will be hosted by a special guest compère at five-star hotel Grosvenor House London.

In the run-up to the event, we’ve been taking a closer look at each of the awards. In this post we profile six nominees from the Putting Something Back and Only in Mayfair categories.

Oliver Smith, head of St James’s at The Crown Estate, which is sponsoring the Putting Something Back award, said: “St James’s prides itself on its heritage whilst always looking to the future.

“We are proud to continue to build on its reputation through welcoming entrepreneurial restaurants, retailers and more, as well as investing in our community and environment.

“That is why we are thrilled to this year be sponsoring the Putting Something Back category.”

Cheryl Carter, director of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc UK, which is sponsoring the Only in Mayfair category, said: “It is our pleasure to sponsor the Only in Mayfair award.

Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc recognises the importance of investing in local communities.

“We are delighted to award a local, long-established business in Mayfair and St James’s that makes a real difference to the community, working together to support local areas, create vibrant and resilient communities, making these areas a better place to live and work.”

Take a look at some of the nominations we’ve received so far.

Rita Gilligan – nominated for Putting Something Back 

Rita joined the Hard Rock Cafe in Mayfair as a waitress on the day it opened in June 1971.

She has served everyone from The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to Take That and Girls Aloud.

She has danced with Ronnie Wood, been serenaded by Noel Gallagher, had a kiss from George Michael and seen her name in lights at Piccadilly Circus.

She receives her own fan mail and makes special appearances at Hard Rock Cafes all over the world.

“I’ve had lots of offers over the years, but I’ve never been tempted to leave,” Rita says.



Jace Tyrrell – nominated for Putting Something Back

Jace Tyrrell has been chief executive of the New West End Company for three years, representing Europe’s largest retail and leisure destination.

It covers 600 businesses in London’s West End and has a property portfolio of £3.5 billion and an annual turnover of £9 billion.

His work has generated more than £30 million of investment into the area, bettering the West End for businesses in the district and for the people who live in, work in and visit the area.  

Jace has paved the way for collaboration between private and public sector stakeholders, ensuring collective decisions are made to benefit and maintain the thriving business community in the district. 


Yasko Kurahachi – nominated for Putting Something Back

Yasko has been volunteering with the St Vincent de Paul Society soup run, based at Farm Street Church on Mount Street, for more than 10 years.

Every Monday night Yasko and her team take a trolley to Oxford Street, Berkeley Square and Hyde Park, handing out soup, sandwiches and other essentials – such as gloves, hats, sleeping bags and toiletries – to clients.

They assist around 50 homeless people each week.

Nominating Yasko for an award, one reader said: “Yasko Kurahachi of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Mayfair does incredible work in our local area”, adding: “It is all run by volunteers and much of the wonderful work they do goes unnoticed and unrewarded.”


Igor Gudjalov – nominated for Only in Mayfair

Since Igor Gudjalov became hotel pianist at Grosvenor House London in 2004, he has played the grand piano in the hotel’s Park Room for around 15,000 hours and continues to tinkle the ivories most days.

His favourite songs include A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square and Tea for Two, along with music by Chopin, Bach, Debussy, Gershwin, Sinatra and Cole Porter and tunes from West End musicals.

Igor has a gift for facial recognition, dates and favourite songs and he remembers guests who return for celebrations, which never ceases to amaze them.

Carl Holness – nominated for Only in Mayfair

A familiar face on Carlos Place, doorman Carl Holness joined The Connaught nine years ago.

He takes “great pride” in the fact that he is usually the first person people meet as part of their visit to the five-star hotel.

On a typical day Carl’s alarm goes off at 5 am and he arrives at the hotel just after 6.30 am.

He hands out umbrellas to guests departing for meetings or sightseeing on rainy days, hails taxis and parks guests’ cars, as well as ensuring the front of the hotel is spotless at all times.

He said: “I never get tired of uttering the words, ‘Welcome to The Connaught’ – it makes me very proud.”

Pollen Street Social

Celebrated chef Jason Atherton opened Pollen Street Social in April 2011 and the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star within just six months.

Its “informal and social” atmosphere, as well as the delicious food, ensured it quickly became a firm favourite among Mayfair residents, workers and visitors.

Two years later Jason opened a sister restaurant, Little Social, opposite, which he relaunched in May this year as No 5 Social. The elegant but relaxed restaurant has a focus on British seasonal fare.



Sign up to our newsletter and we’ll send you an e-newsletter twice a month with access to exclusive stories taking place in the loveliest parts of the world’s most vibrant city.

You have Successfully Subscribed!