West Lothian Teenager Wins Inspirational Young Person Award 2023

A teenager from West Lothian has won this year’s NFU Mutual’s Inspirational Young Person Award. 

Sophie Mackenzie, a 19-year-old hotel supervisor won the award which honours those who own, work or study in the food and drink sector.

With a prize of £500, the award aims to highlight not only the contribution young people make to Scotland’s food and drink businesses, but also the importance of the sector.

First-place winner Sophie took on the role of genelal assistant at The Watchman Hotel in Gullane, East Lothian on its opening in 2021, aged only just 18. 

It was Sophie’s first ever job and her outstanding dedication to service, standards and excellent feedback from patrons, led to her promotion to hotel supervisor in March 2022.

Sophie said: ‘I’m extremely thankful to my manager Neil for nominating me and feel really proud of myself for achieving this accolade and in my first job. 

‘I get a real buzz working at The Watchman and seeing the delight our customers get from enjoying our food and facilities. 

‘I will be putting the money towards a car which will be a huge help for me with getting to college and work.’

Sophie, who is studying for a HNC in Event Management, was nominated by hotel manager Neil King. 

‘Sophie is the perfect example of what hospitality can do for a young individual,’ he said.

‘She is a leading light for our industry and our hotel. Our business would not be the same without her.’

Alongside Sophie, runner-up for the award was Joanne Kerr, 21, of the Coo Shed in Ayr, who won £300. 

The Coo Shed is a farm-themed coffee shop and milk vending machines, set on a dairy farm on the outskirts of the popular seaside town. 

Joanne was praised for her fantastic work ethic and her friendly ‘can-do’ attitude.

Mark McBrearty, NFU Mutual Regional Manager: ‘Selecting a winner and runner up from the high quality of entries this year was very difficult, but I am delighted to be congratulating Sophie and Joanne, both worthy winners and wonderful ambassadors for our world-famous food and drink industry.’

Read more on Scottish Field’s News pages. 

Plus, don’t miss the October issue of Scottish Field magazine