Neil Leah, head of Sales at KAP Toys, was presented with a coveted Golden Teddy award at last night’s official presentation evening at the Toymaster May Show.
The evening of Wednesday 17th May saw a raft of awards handed out to deserving Toymaster suppliers, ahead of the third and final day of the successful Toymaster May Show.
Erica Heythornthwaite, national account manager at Orchard Toys, was there to accept a Friends of Toymaster Award. Erica celebrated her 25th anniversary with Orchard in July last year. Kingsley Matthews, UK sales director at Tomy, also took home a Friends of Toymaster award.
Supplier of the Year went to Kandy Toys, with MD Gary Beswick present to collect the award on behalf of the company.
The most emotional win of the night went to Neil Leah though, who was presented – much to his surprise – with a coveted Golden Teddy award. Neil, who is head of Sales at KAP Toys, was accompanied to the awards do by his wife, Christine, as well as his friend and business partner Nat Southworth, MD of KAP Toys, and Nat’s wife, Zoe.
Nat, who provided a lengthy letter in support of the award nomination, told Toy World: “He is a very deserving recipient of this award, and I wish I’d videoed his face when he realised it was for him.”
Among many other reasons, Nat highlighted Neil’s long career in toys, spanning more than 40 years with the likes of Hasbro, Playmobil, Paul Lamond Games, Tomy, Kids Biz (which became Jakks Pacific) and Vivid Imaginations (now Vivid Goliath) – which is where he met Nat. Nat then bought KAP Toys in 2017 and brought Neil in to help grow the business with him.
Nat’s letter reads: “Neil is without doubt one of the nicest gentlemen you will ever meet and he makes what he does seem easy. He is a true professional. KAP Toys is not alone in facing headwinds in the last five years, along with many other businesses, and Neil has pulled more than one rabbit out of the hat along the way, keeping us going or recharging our spirits when we may have thought all was lost. Neil’s approach to life is one of optimism and he never, ever gives up. He’s known at The Andre Agassi of Sales on the KAP Toys WhatsApp group (#saviour).
He is so deserving of the Golden Teddy because he puts others ahead of himself in everything. He is the first to say it is a team effort, but he has helped build companies across our industry, year after year, and is well known across the trade. To still be well liked by all sides of the trade is a hell of an achievement after 40 years, so it was such it was an easy decision to present this award to him – thank you Neil for everything you have done for the toy industry.”
The Toymaster May Show runs until the close of play today, 18th May, at the The Majestic Hotel in Harrogate.