FOXES Academy, a hospitality and training hotel for young people with learning disabilities in Minehead, took a team of five students to join three hundred waiters in the National Waiters’ Day race in Hyde Park, London. 

The event is the brainchild of Fred Siriex, general manager at the Michelin-starred French haute cuisine restaurant at the London Hilton on Park Lane and famous maître d’ thanks to his role on Channel 4’s First Dates. 

The fun event is designed to celebrate front-of-house staff and inspire young people in hospitality.

Foxes Academy was the only team of young people with learning disabilities taking part in the race but they made a huge impact walking away with two of the three awards on offer. 

Student William Wallace, who is aged 22 and has Down’s syndrome, won the prize for ‘Fastest Student’. 

He was awarded a shadow shift with the general manager of Trader Vic’s at the London Hilton on Park Lane along with a silver platter. The team also won ‘Best Dressed’ for their smart black and orange outfits.

Tracey Clare-Gray, principal of Foxes, said: “I was so proud of our students and their achievements. By including people with disabilities at events like this we can change perceptions about employing them in the hospitality industry. 

“Our experience of working with national partners like Hilton Hotels and also local businesses has shown that inclusive employment leads to increased staff morale, with a better team ethic.”