Ron Hearn of JenningsBet has been crowned the 2017 Racing Post/SIS Betting Shop Manager of the Year.
The 57-year-old, who has a betting shop career spanning 40 years, the last six of which have been spent with JenningsBet, beat seven other finalists from Ladbrokes, Coral, Megabet, Paddy Power Betfair and William Hill.
Hearn, who told the Racing Post: “It is nice for an independent to win it and also for a little bit of recognition. After 40 years, I can now say every day was worth it,” also praised a very competitive field, adding: “The eight finalists here have been exceptional.
“We formed a really strong bond at Doncaster in October and when they announced the regional winners on SIS, you just felt sorry for some of the mates you made a week earlier who hadn’t got through with you.”
Before stressing the importance of punters, particularly of the younger generation: “In an ideal world, with each customer who comes in the door you have got to make them think they are the person you have opened the door for.
“I still think it is a great industry. The thing is you need to encourage a few more youngsters in who are going to see it through.”
Greg Knight, JenningsBet Managing Director, praised Hearn’s victory and the firms first in the competitions 30 year history, commenting: “It means an awful lot to the company because we have got a lot of experienced managers of 20, 25, 30 years plus and it is a recognition for them.
“I also think it’s a recognition for the independent sector. You’ve heard Ron’s background, steeped in independent bookmakers over the years and it just shows how important it is.
“It is about community. Ron’s worked in that shop now for 21 years, he knows everybody locally. He is part of the community and I think that’s extremely important. I am just made up for him personally.”
The main prize for the award is a VIP trip to one of Singapore’s major race meeting, in addition to being guests in the SIS Ascot Box next month.