The Blue Bell Lodge, a 60-bedroom hotel in Ackham, Middlesbrough, was named 'unit of the year' by its owners Barracuda, at the company's annual awards ceremony. The Blue Bell beat 150 rivals to the top spot, and Mark McQuater, Barracuda chief executive, said the team at the hotel had "built an enviable reputation for their extremely high standards right across the board." "In 2002-03 the lodge’s overall sales rose year on year by 16%, making it our top performer in terms of sales growth," he added. Varsity’s Jackie White won the area manager of the year, for the second year running, and the student pub chain's Aberystwyth unit won the category for the largest increase in catering sales. Best new pub development was Manchester’s Barracuda Bar while Shaun King and Sue Moore, managers at the Stapylton Arms in Eston, near Middlesbrough, received an outstanding achievement award for the pub’s consistently high performance. Mark McQuater said: "The awards recognise that across the company we have dedicated and top quality staff."