Managing change: BFA Franchisee of the year 2005 winners

Announcing: the British Franchise Association's 2005 Franchisee of the Year Award winners.

The theme of this year's prestigious British Franchise Association (BFA) Franchisee of the Year Awards was 'Managing Change'. The event was held recently at Birmingham's National Motorcycle Museum, sponsored by HSBC Bank in association with Express Newspapers.

HSBC Bank's Head of Franchising Cathryn Hayes, who opened the event, announced: 'This event marks the climax of an annual search for franchising excellence that attracts more entries of higher quality every year. The Awards are now a showcase for business at its best, building a new image for franchising as a powerful model for success.'

A panel of experts, led by BFA President Sir Bernard Ingham, judged the awards. BFA Director General Brian Smart commented on the high standards of the entries and the positive effect the successful applicants have on franchising as a whole. 'Their success helps build on the substantial base of professionalism and high ethical standards that benefits all BFA franchisees. Their achievements set an industry stand on which others can model themselves - and against which they can measure their progress.'

Following a video summary on all nine finalists, the winners took to the stage to receive their commemorative certificates. Roy Sharpe and John Passfield from Countrywide Grounds Maintenance were crowned the 2005 Franchisees of the Year.

In conclusion, Brian Smart thanked HSBC Bank and Express Newspapers for their continued support and reminded the finalists and that they could proudly count themselves among the best businesses in the country.

John Passfield and Roy Sharpe, Morley Countrywide Grounds Maintenance Group

John Passfield and Roy Sharpe were both operating individual franchises with the Countrywide Grounds Maintenance Group when, in 1997, they joined forces to expand their business potential.

In the past few years, John and Roy have purchased an additional four franchise areas, and now run three operational depots with 40 fully equipped mobile teams. With 120 employees, they offer a one-stop-shop for fine turf and general amenity horticulture as well as hard and soft landscaping and arboriculture work.

Jon Bassett, Cardiff Mitchells & Butlers

After working for Mitchells & Butlers as a Pub Manager for 14 years, Jon Bassett was brimming with ideas and ready for a fresh challenge. Using M&B purchasing power he was able to put together extremely competitive food and drink offers. In his first 12 weeks, Jon returned his initial franchise set-up cost of £30,000 and his return on investment was nearly 500 per cent in the first year.

Peter Harris, Rowlands Castle Nr Portsmouth Snap on Tools Peter Harris had always wanted his own business and purchased a franchise from Snap-on Tools. Working in an environment he knows and enjoys, Peter has the back-up of a global corporation.

Peter and wife Tracey now cover three franchise territories with the help of four employees and expect the current year turnover to exceed £750,000.

Reported by Pip Wilkins, bfa Event Manager