YVONNE JAMES followed in the footsteps of Dick Whittington and made a triumphant return to London. However, it wasn’t to be named Lord Mayor but to be crowned Fuller’s London Pride ‘Steward of the Year’ for 2012.
A year ago, Yvonne made the trip to the capital from Rugby as the Midland region winner only to miss out on the top prize at the annual presentation luncheon at The Counting House in the City.
This time it was a happy return as she added the national title ahead of the other regional winners in the all-female line-up, Samantha Hudson from Swaffham in Norfolk, the South East winner, Anna Tyson from Dainton Park in Devon, the South West winner, and Dawn Stacey from Wath, the North Region winner.
“I was so pleased to be here last year as the Midland Region winner but to come back and win is amazing. My members will be pleased,” said Yvonne.
“I have been at Rugby Golf Club for seven years and the best part is making people happy. They can come into the 19th hole after a bad round and we will lift their spirits.”
Yvonne, who was a matron at Rugby School before joining the golf club and has three children of her own, doesn’t play golf but her husband Bob, who is club captain, was there to see her collect her award.
“Last year, the lunch was held slightly earlier so the regional award was something of a 50th birthday present for me,” added Yvonne. “I was really happy to be chosen as the Midland winner and to represent the region again is fantastic. I can’t thank my members enough for supporting me.
“When we returned to the club a year ago they held a big party. I wonder what will happen this time.”
The judges, who included the 2011 national winner Scott Parker from Buckingham, described Yvonne as ‘the most pro-active candidate we’ve ever had in the six years of the competition’.
They also outlined her members’ championing of their stewardess with phrases as ‘unflagging enthusiasm’, ‘nothing is too much trouble’ and ‘an absolute delight’. And she is always ready with a pint of London Pride, which is the tipple for her regular members.
The judges also remarked on the innovations Yvonne has brought to Rugby Golf Club such as staging weddings, coffee mornings, monthly band nights and even speed dating. She has also helped to raise £10,000 this year for cancer charities after losing family members in that way.