Time is running out to nominate your favourite people for one of our Community Awards of Mayfair & St James’s.

 

 

Ten awards will be handed out at our ceremony in the ballroom at five-star hotel the JW Marriott Grosvenor House London on Park Lane in January.

Meet some of our nominees in the Unsung Hero and Only in St James’s categories below.

You choose the candidates. Winners will be selected by a judging panel.

The awards are returning for the fifth year with headline sponsors for 2020: Grosvenor and Fortnum & Mason.

 

Master hatter Jay Vaghela

Nominated for Unsung Hero, is Jay Vaghela.

He arrived at Lock & Co Hatters 10 years ago, starting as a sales assistant.

Then he was promoted to master hatter.

This was thanks to a combination of seriously hard work and exceptional skills. 

He learnt these skills both at Lock’s and from his father, who was an expert tailor.

Jay is renowned for working his millinery magic on all sorts of challenges.

This ranges from the family heirloom top hat that a customer is keen to wear but doesn’t quite fit, to the favourite flat cap that’s been destroyed by the dog.

 

Bookshop man Jerry Vinalon 

Jerry Vinalon has a unique role at legendary bookshop Heywood Hill on Curzon Street.

He has worked there for 12 years and is described as an “unsung hero among Mayfair’s book lovers”.

As the shop’s packing-room manager, Jerry is responsible for overseeing the individual wrapping and dispatch of several thousand books every month.

Each day, Jerry heads out on foot around Mayfair to hand-deliver books ordered by telephone or email from customers across the area.

He knows every nook and cranny in Mayfair. He even regularly delivers books to Buckingham Palace for the Queen.

His colleague Nicky Dunne says: “Forget Amazon Prime, Jerry Vinalon is Heywood Hill Prime.”

Wine seller Lance Jefferson 

It was way back in 1976 when Lance Jefferson joined Berry Bros & Rudd as a stock clerk.

Since then, he has worked in a broad spectrum of roles, from fine wine sales to helping establish the business in Japan and Hong Kong.

Also, he helped open Berry Bros’ first ever events space, the Napoleon Cellar, and its “events and education” arm. This has gone on to host more than 35,000 people at over 1,200 events.

His colleague Gemma Duncan says: “Lance is incredibly popular with our customers and his involvement in the business knows no bounds.”

45 Jermyn Street

This is a true dining destination. It is inspired by old-school glamour and an era when service and attention to detail were paramount.

The dynamic team, led by general manager David Nichter with Jamie Shears (pictured) in the kitchen, takes a huge amount of pride in what they do.

Simon Thompson, the retail and hospitality director at Fortnum & Mason, is director at 45 Jermyn St.

He says: “Diners can sink into the orange booths and savour seasonal menus and flambé dishes.

“Or they can enjoy counter-top dining at the marble bar and indulge in soda jerks and boozy floats.”

St James’s Conservation Trust

This local group of residents and business interests has worked tirelessly for more than 15 years to protect and improve the historic area of St James’s.

The Trust reviews planning applications and contributes to improvements in the area.

It has recently been involved with the island outside St James’s Palace.

According to deputy chairman Virginia Chichester (pictured) this has: “improved the traffic flow as well as ‘beautifying’ what was a rather messy layout”.

Plus, it has held summer garden parties in St James’s Square to bring the community together and promote local crafts.

Bentley & Skinner 

By Royal Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, Bentley & Skinner has been buying and selling beautiful jewellery since 1880.

The family owned business is recognised as a bastion of style, elegance, quality and old-world charm.

It presents a diverse range of antique and modern jewellery while also offering an unparalleled range of services.

This includes repairs, seal-engraving, pearl-stringing and bespoke jewellery commissions at its on-site workshop.

Moreover, in 2020, the company is set to celebrate its 10th anniversary at its current premises on Piccadilly.