Goodwood House’s operations manager has been announced as one of the winners of a national award celebrating the hospitality industry’s most talented stars aged under 30.

Shelley Freeland, attended a prize-giving event at the luxury five star Coworth Park Hotel in Ascot, Berkshire, and a celebratory weekend which included team building exercises to test teamwork and competition skills.

Previous recipients of the Acorn Award include celebrity chefs Marco Pierre White and Jamie Oliver.

The award was organised by the industry magazine The Caterer.

Shelley said: “Winning an Acorn is one of the greatest achievements in my career.

“I love my job as no day is ever the same at Goodwood and you cannot always predict how your day will turn out.

“Working in hospitality at Goodwood is such a diverse industry and the opportunities for growth and to experience new things keeps you engaged and motivated.

“It can be very rewarding, from the wonderful people you get to work with, to delivering a great customer experience.

“You really do have the power to make someone’s day and that’s a great feeling.”

Shelley began her Goodwood career at the age of 19 as junior supervisor for the Aerodrome Café, where she was responsible for its day-to-day running.

She moved on from the café into a role as events administrator with the Goodwood House team.

Shelley worked closely with the house manager and learned about the running of Goodwood House, which is home to world renowned events such as Goodwood Festival of Speed, as well as being a location for conferences and weddings.

Her drive ambition and determination meant she was made operations manager at Goodwood House in 2017 at the age of 26.

She is the youngest member of the senior leadership team at Goodwood working alongside the directors and managers.

Shelley has financial responsible for Goodwood House and Motor Circuit Catering.

She said: “In my first year in the role of operations manager I had to make a big step up from a co-ordinator role to be responsible for delivering 120 events per year and over 350 staff at events.

“I had to get to grips with everything extremely quickly, make some tough decisions to help save costs and turn things around.”

Goodwood entertaining and hospitality managing director Andrew Coggings said: “Having beaten off competition from across the country, this should be recognised as a huge achievement for both Shelley and Goodwood and we are all very proud of her.

“This is a fantastic and well-deserved achievement in Shelley’s career.”

Charles Coulombeau, head chef at Gravetye Manor in East Grinstead also won an Acorn Award.

Other winners included Max Fenlon, financial controller of UK, Park Plaza Hotels; Tomas Kubart, restaurant director Kerridge’s Bar and Grill, Corinthia Hotel; Katie Muliss, restaurant manager, the Hand and Flowers; and Alexander Wilson, reception manager, Brown’s hotel, Rocco Forte Hotels;