Life Leisure honours industry hero with a “passion for helping people” at annual awards


Life Leisure’s annual employee awards were charged with emotion this year, with the greatest honour of the evening going to much-loved colleague Martin Harriman, who passed away in May.

Martin had worked at Life Leisure for 23 years. The dad-of-four started his career in the leisure industry as a lifeguard, steadily working his way up to becoming Group Operations Director at Stockport’s Life Leisure with responsibilities spanning the organisation’s network of 13 North West sites.

Martin was posthumously awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in honour of his dedication to the business, unwavering support of colleagues, and passion for helping people in the communities he served.

His award was presented to his wife Michelle by his close colleagues Kate Egdell, Group Finance Director, and Michaela Pennington, Group Operations Director, who also shared a short film about Martin’s impact on the business and his colleagues – as well as his quirky sense of humour.

Speaking after the event, Malcolm McPhail, CEO, said: “Martin was instrumental in the development of programmes, working practises and internal innovations that have resulted in many industry awards over the last decade. On top of that, he was a truly inspiring and much-loved colleague, so it was fitting to present him with the evening’s highest honour.”

Life Leisure hosts the annual event to celebrate the dedication and passion of staff across all its facilities in Stockport and Cumbria.

Other winners on the night included the team at Cheadle Gym, who were awarded the Special Recognition Award for their quick thinking and resilience when there was a medical emergency at the gym.
Grand Central was named Centre of the Year, and Hannah Lago, who is a receptionist at Grand Central, was named the PB (Personal Best) Champion of the Year for her ongoing dedication to the role and to customers.

Aidan Murphy and Sasha Moore shared the Sentinel of the Year award for their upstanding service and commitment to their roles within the company and Life Leisure customers.

Hannah Ahmad & Jacob Kennerly both won the Alwin Thompson Award, and Andy Brooks and Ellen McDowall shared the David Hopkins Award, which are presented in honour of two former Life Leisure Chairs and respected Stockport businessmen.

Team of the year was awarded to the emergency swimming task team who went above and beyond to ensure swimming lessons and sessions could continue following the unforeseen closure of two swimming pools at two centres.

Five further winners were chosen due to their individual approaches to the centre’s five WATCH principles – Winner, Authentic, Together, Caring and Happy, which staff are encouraged to follow. They were awarded to Kath Kinsley Jones, Alastair Dixon, Sarah Potter, Leigh Appleton, and Kelly Hadfield respectively.

Malcom added: “This whole night was a fantastic success. It was emotional, but it was also full of joy as we celebrated our phenomenal team and showed all our staff how valued and important they are to us and our success as a business.”

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