Style Awards 2015: Meet the Judge – Thom Hetherington

Updated on: August 17 2015

thom hetherington image resized blogThere are just two weeks left to enter the Hilden Style Awards 2015 and judging this year’s awards we have some of the most esteemed movers and shakers from the hospitality industry. Amongst our five judges we have figures operating at the forefront of the restaurant, housekeeping and spa industries, combining a great and balanced mix of views and opinions.

So what excites our judges and what are they looking for from our hospitality Style Awards? We asked each of them three questions to help you get to know a bit more about their ‘style.’ Each day we’ll introduce you to one of our judges to help you get to know a little more about them.

Thom Hetherington – CEO of Holden Media

Thom, 41, was one of the team that founded the PPA-award winning Restaurant Magazine and launched events including the 50 Best Restaurants in the World awards and the College Restaurant of the Year competition. Currently he is CEO of Holden Media which organises the Northern Restaurant & Bar (NRB) exhibition amongst many other established events and exhibitions based in the North-West.

What made you decide to be a judge this year?

Personal passion and a perfect opportunity. I have judged many hospitality awards over the years and have always had a particular interest in interior design, not least because of growing up around Hetherington Newman, my father’s period architectural joinery business ( and indeed my brother’s antique restoration and framing company (

I had known Paula Lorimer, Hilden’s Group Sales Director, for many years so when she asked me to join the panel I jumped at the chance.

What kind of entries are you looking for / do you hope to see?

Like every judge I think I yearn for something new and innovative, but equally we all have a deep appreciation for classicism and simplicity, at least when it is delivered to perfection (and simplicity leaves no hiding place for sub-standard quality and finish). In short I don’t think I come with prescriptive ideas of styles or approaches, I am just looking for something which, in terms of vision and execution, stands out head and shoulders above the rest. It sounds like an intangible measure, but believe me when you see it you know it, it stands out a mile.

What is your interior design style?

As we live in an old pub dating back to 1840 who knows, our design ethos may have much in common with some of the entrants! I would say our style is ‘accumulated eclectic’, as over the last twenty years my partner and I have gained furniture, accessories and indeed ideas from living everywhere from contemporary loft apartments to listed buildings. We have also incorporated lots of inherited family pieces, of mixed aesthetic merit but great sentimental value, and as we run a major art fair (Buy Art Fair) our walls our walls our full of contemporary pieces ranging from Liam Spencer’s to Rachel Goodyear’s. Oh, and we have kids, so there are assorted toys and random items of sports equipment liberally sprinkled everywhere

If you think your establishment can impress Thom, and indeed our other Style Award judges, then make sure you submit your entry before midnight on 31st August 2015.

How to enter

Simply click here, scroll to the bottom and upload a picture of the room to your chosen category; Bed, Bath or Dining (or all three!). Good luck!

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As Hilden’s brand manager, Jenny gets involved in everything from product development to digital campaigns. She oversees our annual Style Awards as well as the overall look and feel of the brand and the positioning of products in the market.