Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 14.38.14A NORTH East shopping centre has ‘pipped’ competition across the UK to scoop a top industry award.

intu Metrocentre was crowned overall winner at the British Council of Shopping Centres Purple Apple Marketing awards as more than 500 professionals from across the retail property marketing industry honoured the best in the business.

The UK’s leading owner and manager of prime shopping centres, intu, swept the board with an impressive seven awards at this year’s BCSC Purple Apple Marketing Awards.

The annual event took place on 7th May and recognises effective marketing within the UK shopping centre sector. Marketing teams from across the intu portfolio were present to celebrate their achievements on the night.

intu Metrocentre’s cause-­related marketing initiative, The Heart of a Thousand Crystals, won the hearts of judges for its innovation and community reach, earning it the coveted Golden Apple; the top accolade of the night.

To celebrate the installation of the Heart of a Thousand Crystals chandelier in the new Platinum Mall, 1000 limited edition replica crystal hearts were sold to shoppers as keepsakes for £20 each, allowing them to own a piece of the Centre forever, and raising £20,000 for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) within Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

The money raised was used to sponsor the Transplant Flat at Scott House; a home from home for families with children undergoing heart surgery.

Praising the initiative, Sue Boor, Chair of the Judges, said: “The quality of entries this year surpassed our expectations.

“My fellow judges and I had a challenge on our hands to choose amongst them but we were universally impressed by the creativity and originality of intu Metrocentre’s ‘The Heart of a Thousand Crystals’ initiative.

“It has made an enormous difference to a local cause and brought a community together in an astounding demonstration of charity.”

intu Metrocentre was also awarded a Merit for its commemoration of the centenary of the outbreak of WW1, which supported five main service charities; Royal British Legion, Royal Navy and Marines Charity, RAF Benevolent Fund, SSAFA and Army Benevolent Fund.

The centre worked with local schools and community groups for a three-day event of displays, memorabilia and entertainment, culminating in a memorial service on the anniversary of the outbreak of WW1.

It also unveiled a poignant poppy chandelier that will remain as a lasting tribute to those who lost their lives in a century of conflicts.

Handing out the award, judges said: “Congratulations to a team that worked very hard to create such an amazing event on such a small budget.”

Speaking after the win, intu’s Northern Regional Marketing Manager, Karen Carr, said: “We are overjoyed intu won so many awards and, of course, so proud that intu Metrocentre were presented with the top prize of the evening and the hard work of the entire team at intu Metrocentre has been recognised in these prestigious industry awards.

“It matters enormously to us that intu Metrocentre is at the heart of the North East community and we would not have won this award without the support, enthusiasm and encouragement of our customers.

The support of the enthusiastic and dedicated Centre Management team is also key to the success of our award winning events.

“The Heart of a Thousand Crystals and the WW1 event were created with them in mind so this award isn’t just for us, it’s for them as well.”