On Friday 10 October the National Pawnbrokers Association held its annual Conference and Awards Dinner at the Hotel Russell, London. Industry professionals and pawnbrokers from across the UK gathered to celebrate the successes of the past year and to recognise excellence in pawnbroking.

This year’s annual conference was centred on ‘Driving Business Forward’. Attendees heard from the FCA about compliance, experts on jewellery, metals markets and security and guest speaker, Barry Hearn, who is credited with popularising snooker as a globally televised sport.

At the conference Paul Smit was elected as the new NPA President. Margot Walker has now stood down as NPA President after three years great service. She played a significant part overseeing changes across the industry, including the arrival of FCA regime and welcomed many new faces.

Guests later enjoyed a reception, followed by the Awards Dinner. NPA Chief Executive, Ray Perry, hosted the awards along with newly elected NPA President, Paul Smit.

NPA Chief Executive, Ray Perry, says:

‘It was wonderful to bring everyone together after the NPA conference during the day to jointly celebrate the pawnbroking industry and our members’ excellent work. Thanks to everyone that entered the different awards categories, the judges had a tough job selecting winners from the outstanding entries.'

‘We are also delighted to have raised nearly £7000 for the NSPCC at the Awards Dinner. A huge thanks to all our members for their generosity.’

This year’s award winners were:

Store of the Year

Winner: H&T, Dagenham

Judges praised H&T Dagenham for its presentation of stock and strong link with local community. The store saw a 4% increase in business over the last year and offered good local promotions.

New Member

Winner: Cashbrokers, Chesterfield

Cashbrokers’ new franchisee showed exceptional customer service, explaining pawnbroking in a professional and transparent way to its customers. The store also exceeded targets by over 100%.

Community Contribution

Winner: H&T – Easter Promotion

H&T’s Easter egg promotion was praised by judges for engaging both staff and customers. 7,183 Easter eggs were delivered to local children’s hospices.

Highly Commended: N&R Pawnbrokers

Employee of the Year

Winner: Alan Thomson, The Money Shop Edinburgh

Alan Thomson has over 20 years’ experience in the pawnbroking industry. He was praised by the judges for improving the stores overall performance and has become the go-to expert on any item from guitars to porcelain to watches.

Highly Commended: Danielle Lord, The Gold Emporium

Rising Star

Winner: Ben Hill, H&T Kingston

Ben Hill was recognised for his successful store development schemes. He has engaged fully with the local community and run many fantastic charity events. Ben has an excellent understanding of pawnbroking and represents the professionalism and expertise of the industry.

Employer of the Year

Winner: The Money Shop

The Money Shop was praised for its strong staff training programme and promotional opportunities. The judges saw good customer experiences and developed polices and producers that put the customer at the heart of the business.

Fellowship Award

Bryan Edwards

Bryan Edwards was awarded the Fellowship Award in recognition of his outstanding achievement in the pawnbroking industry.