Patsy O’Kane receives lifetime achievement
Veteran hotelier, Patsy O’Kane, former owner of the iconic Beech Hill Hotel has been named as the recipient of this year’s Licensed & Catering News Lifetime Achievement award.
Patsy, who retired from hospitality when the 30-bedroom hotel was sold to The House Collection last year, received a standing ovation from the 450 strong audience when she collected the award in person at the Europa hotel last week.
Speaking after receiving the LCN Lifetime Achievement Award, Patsy said that she was ‘just ecstatic’: ‘To me, this was the perfect end to half-a-century in hospitality.”
She added: ‘To receive an award like this and to be recognised by your peers, it’s such an experience and I feel totally fulfilled.”
Patsy and her father, Leo Donnelly, took over the listed Beech Hill Hotel in 1989 and over the years it was developed it into a hugely successful country house retreat, well known as a leading local wedding venue.
Many of the North’s most successful chefs began their careers at the venue, including Michael Deane and Noel McMeel and the Beech Hill also played host to a succession of famous guests including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, John Carey, Will Ferrell and Stephen Rea.
Patsy, a former High Sheriff for the Borough of Londonderry, was awarded the MBE for services to hospitality in 2014.
Speaking after the event, organiser, Bill Penton, said that it had been a privilege to acknowledge Patsy O’Kane’s tremendous contribution to local hospitality.
“Every year, LCN gives this award to an exceptional individual whose life has been spent working to develop hospitality in Northern Ireland and secure a better future for employees and those who visit our many venues and attractions.
“Patsy O’Kane has done this very successfully for a long period of time and it’s an absolute pleasure to be able to acknowledge those efforts in this way. Very well done.”