Businessman Derek Lancaster’s dedication to customer service has been recognised with a diamond Trustist award.

A former chef in the RAF, he launched oven valeting service Ovenu Darlington in 2003 and estimates that in that time he has restored the sparkle to almost 14,500 ovens.

Derek received the accolade from the online customer reviews platform as part of its inaugural awards.

He said: “This business is founded on great service and there is no higher praise than glowing testimonials from the people who matter most, my clients. It’s an honour to be recognised by Trustist in its Top Performing Franchisee category, and I’m proud to receive a diamond rating.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to my clients because without their positive feedback, I wouldn’t have won this award.”

Nigel Apperley, chief executive of Trustist, said: “It is important to recognise that individual franchisees like Derek play a huge part in building a good reputation for an overall brand.”

Rik Hellewell, the founder and managing director of Ovenu, added: “Customer satisfaction is of paramount importance.

“These awards are testament to the fact that Derek provides a quality service that people trust, and I’m proud of the top-class work and excellent customer service she delivers on a daily basis. This award is confirmation of that.”

Ovenu Darlington continues to accept bookings at its discretion, with the strict stipulation that both parties observe a two-metre social distancing rule, along with guidelines on hygiene and cleanliness.

As well as Darlington, the business also covers Northallerton, Richmond, Barnard Castle, Newton Aycliffe, Bishop Auckland and surrounding areas.

The Ovenu valeting process involves dismantling key components of an oven such as the door, interior panels, fan, and shelves and placing them into design-registered tank equipment, which uses safe, non-caustic products, leaving the oven in near showroom condition.