BEANNCHOR’S BILL WOLSEY AWARDED OBE
Belfast publican and hotelier, Bill Wolsey has received an OBE for services to business and the hospitality industry in Northern Ireland.
The award was presented to Mr Wolsey by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace on Friday, 6th February 2015 after he was included in the Queen’s 2014 Birthday Honours list.
The Beannchor portfolio includes over 50 pubs, hotels and restaurants across Northern Ireland, including The Merchant Hotel, Little Wing Pizzeria, The Dirty Onion, Yard Bird, The National Grande Café and Sixty6. The group directly employs over 650 members of staff.
Bill was joined at the ceremony by his wife, Petra and sons, Conall and Luke, all directors in the Beannchor group.
Commenting after the award, Bill Wolsey said: “It is an honour to receive this award. It was a very proud moment and one which I am delighted to share with my family, all of whom have been integral to the growth, development and success of the business.
“Together we are very proud of the role Beannchor has played in regenerating and energising the social fabric of Belfast city centre and indeed more rural locations across Northern Ireland, as well as creating hundreds of jobs.”
Bill Wolsey was born in Belfast on September 11 1953. As a teenager, he was scouted for Arsenal, and spent some time at Highbury. When health problems thwarted his footballing ambitions, his energy needed a new focus. After a brief, and by his own admission, unsuccessful stint as a compositor in the printing industry, Bill turned his attention to the hospitality industry.
He gradually worked his way through the ranks, with a number of different companies from Pizza Hut (the first in London), to The Holiday Inn and finally the Queens Moat House chain, where he achieved a senior managerial position. This allowed him the opportunity to put some money aside, in order to achieve what was by this time, his burning ambition – to own his own public house.
Since he opened his first pub in Bangor in the late 1970s right through to today, Bill Wolsey has always been an innovator. The Beannchor Group includes many of Northern Ireland’s best loved, bars, clubs, restaurants and hotels in its portfolio, including the multi award- winning Merchant Hotel, restaurant chain Little Wing Pizzeria, and more recent additions to the portfolio, including The Dirty Onion, The National Grande Café and Sixty6.