A trio who excel for the contribution they make to tourism in the county are in the running for Lancashire Tourism Superstar 2016 – the only award in the Lancashire Tourism Awards to be nominated and decided by the public.
The public can now vote for the candidate they feel most deserving of the title – the aim of which is to highlight those outstanding individuals who make a difference to the visitor experience of Lancashire, through their customer service excellence, their championing of the county – perhaps achieving this behind the scenes or outside the public spotlight.
Out of this year’s five finalists three are from the Ribble Valley.
They include Simon Entwistle, of Top Hat Tours, Sharon Jones, of Samlesbury Hall, and Janet Simpson, of Gibbon Bridge Hotel.
Members of the public are invited to cast their vote via the award’s website: Lancashiretourismawards.com
Votes must be cast by Thursday October 20th. The votes will then be counted and verified, with the overall winner announced at the Lancashire Tourism Awards 2016 which is being held on Thursday November 10th at Blackburn Cathedral, the Cathedral of Lancashire.
Ruth Connor, chief executive of Marketing Lancashire, said: “Those who work in the tourism industry are passionate about Lancashire and deliver quality experiences and customer service excellence to our 63 million visitors every year. This award aims to make public some of the extraordinary accomplishments made by individuals working in the industry today. This year we have an amazing and diverse group of individuals in our shortlist.
“It is now down to a public to pick their winner and we urge them to get behind the finalists and vote for their favourite. We wish all five the best of luck and look forward to naming our Tourism Superstar at the Lancashire Tourism Awards.”
The Tourism Superstar finalists are:
Simon Entwistle – Top Hat Tours.
Simon is an independent tour guide with a knack for story-telling and capturing the imagination of visitors of all ages, at a wide range of attractions and locations across Lancashire. His Pendle Witches, Haunted Inns and Lancashire Ghost Tours are hugely popular with groups and individuals from all over the world. It is not unusual to find Simon out in the countryside, with a film crew from the USA or even China, promoting Lancashire to international audiences and his growing collection of films on YouTube are taking his entertaining storytelling, to an even wider audience. Closer to home, listeners to BBC Radio Lancashire enjoy his stories from the county, on his regular Friday morning slot. He’s a champion of Lancashire and is constantly adding to his portfolio of guided walks, coach tours and events that bring Lancashire history and legends to life. www.tophattours.co.uk
Sharon Jones – Samlesbury Hall.
Sixteen years ago Sharon was asked by a trustee if she could take a look at and offer any help to Samlesbury Hall, as it was in danger of closing. She did and 16 years later she is still there as director, she simply rolled up her sleeves and set about transforming this historic hall’s fortunes. Today Samlesbury Hall is a popular and thriving visitor destination. Working with the trustees Sharon has developed the hall into one of the county’s most sought-after wedding venues, has breathed life into the hall with guided character tours and an array of events, created family-friendly areas, has established a Taste Lancashire accredited restaurant and, this year, has added new accommodation in the shape of Shepherd Huts which suit the landscape perfectly. Through raising much needed funds, hard work and determination Sharon has helped secure one of Lancashire’s historic gems for future generations.
Janet Simpson – Gibbon Bridge Hotel.
Janet is from a Lancashire farming background, and it was here that she acquired many practical skills that would stand her in good stead for what was to come. Her parents took over the tenancy of Gibbon Bridge Farm in Chipping and in spite of the many hours dedicated to farming it did not bring great rewards and Janet’s mother Maggie started to sell her home-baked goods on Blackburn Market. Following the death of her father Alf in 1977, new ideas for the future Gibbon Bridge started to emerge. In 1982 Gibbon Bridge with just six bedrooms, a restaurant and bar was born. 2017 is the 35th anniversary of Gibbon Bridge; in that time Janet has nurtured and grown a brand new visitor destination and award-winning hotel with 30 rooms; her investment and boundless energy creating one of the county’s foremost wedding venues, with one of the Lancashire’s must-see gardens (most recently Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park tied the knot here). Janet has always championed local produce and provided consistent dining excellence at the helm of her busy kitchen. www.gibbon-bridge.co.uk
For more information and to view the list of this year’s finalists go to lancashiretourismawards.com or follow #LTA16 on Twitter.
Readers are asked to vote for their favourite from the list of five finalists at: www.Lancashiretourismawards.com before Thursday October 20th.