The ‘master of ceremonies’ at a Gisburn wedding venue is “honoured” after being named best toastmaster at the County Brides’ North West Wedding Awards.

Dave Knowles presides over formal events and introduces guests, speakers and entertainment at Stirk House Hotel.

​A toastmaster is a person who introduces the speakers at a formal dinner and calls for people to drink something together in honour of particular people.

This is the second time Dave, who has worked at the hotel for eight years, has picked up the award for best toastmaster, having also been voted last year’s winner.

Dave is described by colleagues as having a “heart of gold and an electric personality”.

Dave said: “Thank you to all the past and present couples for their votes and kind comments which helped us reach the final of the County Brides North West Wedding Awards.

“A big special thank you from me to all the couples that voted me for the second year as best toastmaster.

“To reach this goal we work as a whole team to achieve a special place in all our couple’s hearts. Once again thank you from all of us at Stirk House.”

Stirk House’s Laura Maree said: “Not only is Dave a much-loved friend and colleague to those of us at Stirk House, but he’s also a favourite with our couples, guests and wedding suppliers who visit the hotel throughout the year.

“He has a heart of gold and an electric personality, and after serving in the armed forces he put his enormous voice and superb hospitality skills to good use and has been with us here at Stirk House for the last eight years.

“For all those who have had the pleasure of knowing him, this award is a well-deserved recognition of his professionalism, kindness, and exceptional character.

"There’s simply nobody like Dave and we couldn’t be more proud of him.”

The black-tie awards ceremony, held at Manchester’s Mercure Piccadilly Hotel this week, shone a spotlight on the north west’s most exceptional wedding venues and suppliers who were voted for by real couples who have experienced their services first-hand.

The glamorous event was attended by hundreds of industry professionals from across the region. 

Dave is part of a dedicated team at Stirk House that has earned numerous awards and recognition.

The hotel won Best Venue: Lancashire in 2021 and 2023, while individual staff members have also excelled.

Assistant weddings manager Lucy Atkinson took home the award for Best Wedding Coordinator in 2022, and this year weddings manager Danielle Gutkowski was a finalist for the fourth consecutive year.

Dave KnowlesDave Knowles (Image: R W Photography) James and Laura were married at Stirk House in June and said: “A special shout-out has to go to Dave for the day of the wedding, he is absolutely incredible at what he does and knows exactly how to get everyone involved.

“All we can say is we cannot recommend Stirk House and the whole team more, and we are absolutely buzzing that we were lucky enough to celebrate our special day here!”