The County Register
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Matchmaker of The Year Awards 2021

Our annual Matchmaker of the Year Awards for the year 2021 took place at the Kings Court Hotel, Kings Coughton, Warwickshire, and a splendid evening was enjoyed by all. People travelled great distances to be with us, from as faraway as West London, Surrey and Hampshire, which was very much appreciated and gave the evening the prestige, gravitas and glamour that it deserved.

The Matchmaker of the Year Award is based on points for numbers of matches achieved, the numbers of matches that go into exchange where both parties are happy to exchange details and begin to explore the possibility of an ongoing relationship, plus successful testimonials and success stories. There is a weekly award, cumulative monthly award for a bottle of bubbly and this all feeds into the annual award, which was presented at the dinner last Friday, by ‘Mr Dating’, the Lifetime President of the Dating Agency Association and founder & former owner of Elite -Eddy Ankrett.

Our other Guest Speaker was one of the best known names in dating in the UK, the founder of The County Register from way back in 1983, Ms Heather Heber Percy, who for 17 years served with distinction as the Chairperson of the Association of British Introduction Agencies (ABIA) and has now progressed to Chair the larger Dating Agency Association (DAA). Heather is probably the best known, most senior and longest serving Personal Matchmakers in the UK, with almost 40 years of experience in the role, initially with Country Partners and then The County Register and still oversees all matchmaking within that company even today, even though she is now of senior years.

Heather talked of how incredibly important the matchmaking role is, particularly in these days when online dating related crime is one of the fastest growing crime categories in the UK, particularly with romance fraud and scamming now running at over £100,000.000 per annum in the UK alone. The Personal Matchmaker’s role is to keep people safe and away from as many of the threats that are prevalent in 2022 and beyond in the world of dating. They enjoy great success in achieving this.

This years runner up was a new name to the industry and someone who has already made a very strong statement about her abilities, with numerous weekly and monthly awards. I am delighted to advise that this is Hayley Vale, who joined the industry as recently as March of 2021 and has already achieved some significant successes. Her Line Manager Lyn Nicholls said: “Hayley is our newest member of our team but has a natural aptitude for matchmaking. She is extremely astute, approachable and nothing is too much trouble for her. She has become an amazing matchmaker and I expect her to battle for the Matchmaker of the Year Award again in 2022. Hayley was presented with a certificate, bouquet and bottle of Champagne by Andrew Parker Dennis, our Sales Director.

The winner of the Matchmaker of the Year Award 2021 was once again Karen Hyde, who continued her success and immense popularity within her client list by lifting this prestigious and fiercely fought award for the second consecutive year by building on her success in 2020 to achieve a ‘double’ for the first time ever. So many congratulations to Karen, who was presented with her certificate, a bouquet and bottle of champagne to achieve another place in our ‘Hall of Fame’ within our Head Office. Karen’s awards were presented by ‘Mr Dating’ Eddy Ankrett, Lifetime President of the Dating Agency Association. The General Manager of The County Register, Kim Shaw, added a further tribute to her colleague Karen, when she stated: “It was with great pride I watched Karen being presented with Matchmaker of the Year again for the second year running. She is a great asset to The County Register and we are honoured to have her in our team as an Executive Matchmaker. Karen is so passionate about her role and with 100% dedication, works continuously to find our clients that special partner they do so deserve.

Bringing a breath of fresh air to the business, it is an absolute pleasure to work with Karen and to see her rewarded for the great work she provides to all our clients, all year round. Well done, Karen”.

Prior to the presentation to Karen, Eddy Ankrett, also spoke of the tremendous work achieved by Matchmakers generally and the importance of being able to offer such complete confidentiality, privacy and much greater levels of safety than online competitors or dating apps. Keeping people who prefer dating privately, away from the need for a very public profile that is always a requirement when dating on the internet.

The final award of the evening was a Lifetime Achievement Award that was presented to Eddy Ankrett for his services to the Dating Industry to mark the fact that he has now decided to ‘step back from active service’ at the wonderful age of 78 this year.

Eddy’s first involvement with dating was the formation of his original company Elite, in 1992 which he built into a substantial success. He went on to become the Chairman and Chief Executive of Dateline Plc, which was the Worlds first ‘computerised’ dating company, having been founded by John Patterson in London in 1966, he also chaired Match Me Now Holdings and more recently was a Non Executive Director and Adviser to Dating Options Ltd.

Eddy Ankrett also founded the Introductory Services Federation(ISF)back in the 1990s which was a forerunner of the current Dating Agency Association, which he served with distinction as Chairman during which time he recruited some of the biggest names in the industry to the DAA, including many prestigious names such as Berkeley International, RSVP, The County Register, Searchmate and Attractive Partners, who had all been mainstays of the ABIA at one time.

Eddy was presented with an engraved carriage clock bearing the inscription ‘Presented to ‘Mr Dating’ Eddy Ankrett in recognition of his service to Dating Options Ltd and the industry’ to mark him stepping back after a full 30 years as one of the industries most senior figures. Although he will continue in his role as Lifetime President of the DAA. We wish him a long, very happy and fully deserved semi retirement.

The evening included a superb 4 course meal with wine devised by the Head Chef at the Kings Court and dancing in the Warwick Barn to a great DJ until the small hours. We hope to see even more dating brands included next year.

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