The dust has now settled, and another successful Toymaster Show has ended. Last weeks event was another well attended and organised exhibition. The team at Toymaster should be applauded for putting on a show that brings the industry together in a location that is both beautiful and functional and two evenings celebrating the great and the good of the industry. 

Suppliers and toy companies exhibiting praised the event, both for the relaxed approach to doing business and the orders they’d taken. 

Mark Hunt from Character Options said: “We’ve got the orders in and it’s been a very good show. There’s a buoyant mood, which is good too. And it’s been a great atmosphere.”

“We’ve got the orders in and it’s been a very good show. There’s a buoyant mood, which is good too. And it’s been a great atmosphere”

Mark Hunt Marketing Director Character Options

The Marvin’s Magic stand was busy throughout, the company said, not least because of the amazing demonstrations of the company’s tricks which wowed the crowd (and TnP ourselves). Senior national account manager Andrew Reynolds said: “It’s been busy for us. We’ve created a bit of theatre and entertainment – it works with children and it works with adults and customers. People stop by, have a little show and we write out the orders!”

While presenting a Golden Teddy award to Neil Leah of KAP Toys thanked the Toymaster team for putting the show together and told the retailers: “What you do is important.”

Brian McLaughlin from Toymaster told TnP: “It’s been a fantastic show. It’s been very well attended, we’ve had really positive feedback. Suppliers are really happy about the number of orders being placed, we’ve had great weather and everyone’s enjoyed themselves too.”

Gongs and two Golden Teddy awards as Toymaster celebrates

A brace of prestigious Golden Teddy awards were handed out over two nights of the Toymaster show, with further awards being handed out by the buying group to suppliers. 

The coveted gongs went to two industry stalwarts, with one on the supplier side – Neil Leah of KAP Toys – and a retailer – Dublin’s Ciaran Fitzpatrick, a long time Toymaster figure – both awarded. 

There was a distinct Irish flavour to the first night at the Toymaster show in Harrogate as retailers from Ireland were among the award winners at an Irish-themed event complete with dancers and a ceilidh band. 

Fitzpatrick, of Banba Toymaster, Dublin, became the first recipient of a special recognition award from the organisation as well as picking up a coveted Golden Teddy in recognition of his efforts over the years for both Toymaster and the wider industry. 

He was presented the first by Toymaster md Yogi Parmar who said it took “a special person to be held in such high regard” not just by Toymaster colleagues but the whole business. 

Industry stalwart Roger Dyson, who, along with Paul Reader nominated him for the prestigious gong, presented Fitzpatrick with the Golden Teddy, said he was honoured to be a friend of his, and recalled the number of times Fitzpatrick had chauffeured him around Ireland. 

Other awards at the Irish-themed night at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate were given to Toymaster members with 25 years within the organisation, including Ciaran and Helen Burns, of C&H Burns, Cookstown; Richard and Mary Creedon from Mary’s Toymaster, Macroom; and Fiona and Jonty Chippendale from The Toy Shop, Cockermouth.

Wednesday night’s awards were handed out between a gospel choir and live band, with Friends of Toymaster Awards going to Erica Heythornthwaite (Orchard Toys) and Kingsley Matthews (Tomy). The Supplier of the Year went to Kandy Toys, which, as Toymaster noted, didn’t have an account for some time but had “elevated” itself into becoming one of its top suppliers. 

BTHA’s Roland Earl presented Neil Leah from KAP Toys with his Golden Teddy. Like Fitzpatrick, he boasted more than 40 years’ service in the industry. He also reminded retailers that the judging process for who gets one of the statues. “They’re not handed out like confetti.”

Speaking after the event, Earl commented: “Roland Earl, Director General of the British Toy & Hobby Association said: “My congratulations go to both Ciaran and Neil for their very well-deserved Golden Teddy Awards. Their loyal and substantial individual contributions to the companies they have served and people they have worked with over many years is without question. They both fully deserve these awards and perfectly embody all that is good about this fantastic industry.”

*Photos kindly supplied by Michael Angel

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