OBE honour ‘recognises work of many people’ says Beds & Bars founder

Praise for staff: Keith Knowles was honoured but said thanks go to Bed & Bars staff

The Queen unveiled her birthday honours list at the weekend with the news that she has awarded Beds & Bars CEO and founder Keith Knowles an OBE for services to the community and charity.

Keith Knowles said he was surprised by the honour and said it recognised the work of many people as he paid tribute to the amazing staff who work at the bars and budget accommodation organisation.

He said: “An OBE is really recognition for other people’s efforts as it is for the chief executive of Beds & Bars. I am fortunate to head up an amazing team of people who do astonishing things. It’s humbling to be the head of such an amazing business.”

He praised the way his staff had responded to the London Bridge attack and the calm way they had evacuated 250 people from their hostel at London Bridge and taken them to other hostels. He said that this response was about the training and legacy of his late wife Franca, who passed away in 2014.

Knowles highlighted the work Franca did to share training skills across the industry, which improved standards for everyone and for which she received an MBE for services to skills training in 2008.

Picture: Franca Knowles accepted her MBE for services to skills training in 2008

He also highlighted the charity work that Beds & Bars does with the Team Margot charity, which campaigns for more people to join the worldwide registers as potential bone marrow and stem cell donors.

He said: “The way the energy spills from our business into other sectors is amazing. Our employees are an astonishing group of people. There are 83 different nationalities working in nine countries with 800 team members.”

Knowles praised the work of the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) and said that having a BII award in Franca’s name that recognises people who go above and beyond meant a lot to him. “It’s not all about the money,” he said.

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