Durham Tourism Superstar makes shortlist for national award

Durham Tourism Superstar makes shortlist for national award

Durham grandfather and winner of Visit County Durham’s Tourism Superstar 2016 award has been shortlisted for a prestigious national prize.

Alan AndersonAlan Anderson, 63, who has worked as park ranger at Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland, for more than 17 years, is one of 10 finalists across the country to have made the coveted shortlist for VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar 2017 award.


The hardworking ranger unlocks the gates of the park daily at 5am – even on Christmas Day – and is out come rain, snow or shine maintaining 200 acres of ancient parkland and woodland and enhancing the natural habitat of the local wildlife.


As well as tending to the deer park and gardens, he also runs school holiday activities, undertakes a wide range of conservation work, and volunteers for additional tasks, including greeting castle visitors.


Alan was put forward for the national award by Visit County Durham, after winning the destination management organisation’s Durham Tourism Superstar competition in 2016. The national award will be decided by a nationwide public vote.


Alan was originally nominated by his colleagues at Auckland Castle Trust because of his warm and engaging personality and enthusiastic dedication to his demanding outdoor role.

He said: “I was absolutely astounded to be named Durham Tourism Superstar. And even more so, to be nominated for the national award. It’s flattering to be recognised for doing a job I absolutely love and it would be amazing to be supported by the North East in the public vote.”


The high-profile national competition has been won by two Durham Tourism Superstars the last two years running. Lilian Groves, an octogenarian volunteer senior tour guide at Durham Cathedral, won last year’s award, and in 2015 Matthew Henderson, engagement and participation team assistant at Beamish Museum, triumphed, having originally joined the team as an apprentice.


Michelle Gorman, managing director of Visit County Durham, said: “We are delighted that Alan has been shortlisted for this prestigious award. After securing two national winners in the last two years, we’re hoping for three in a row! It is fantastic that Alan’s obvious dedication to his work has been acknowledged in this way. We hope everyone will now get behind the competition and vote for Alan.”


The competition, launched in 2012, is run by VisitEngland and supported by The Daily Mirror. Shortlisted candidates need the public’s votes to win and be crowned Tourism Superstar 2017. Visit mirror.co.uk/tourismsuperstar to watch a short film featuring Alan and the Superstar finalists. Voting is now open and closes on March 29. The winner will be announced during English Tourism Week 2017 (25 March - 2 April). 


VisitEngland director, Patricia Yates, said: “The sheer calibre of this year’s entrants is testament to the outstanding customer service that is the foundation of England’s tourism industry. I really encourage you to join in and vote as we celebrate our Tourism Superstars who consistently go above and beyond customers’ expectations, and who contribute so much to ensure visitors have a great time.” 


VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar initiative recognises the heroes within the industry who far exceed the call of duty to ensure visitors have the most amazing experience. 


To vote for Alan, visit: www.thisisdurham.com/vote




Katharine Capocci T: 03000 261223

E: katharine.capocci@visitcountydurham.org


Notes to editors:

About Visit County Durham:

Visit County Durham (VCD) is the Destination Management Organisation for County Durham working on behalf of businesses and public agencies. We came into being on 1 April 2006 and are a private, not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, with a board of directors including an executive director.


The company’s main funder is Durham County Council. The private sector also contributes financially to our work in return for benefits and activities that meet their needs.


Visit County Durham assists the county to fulfil its potential as one of North East England’s lead destinations, attracting visitors to the region from across the UK and from target overseas markets. Its objective is to ensure that the tourism sector performs to its maximum capacity and brings economic benefits to the county in the form of wealth and job creation. Its broad aims are to attract people to the area and to provide visitors with the best possible experience.


About VisitEngland:

VisitEngland is the country’s national tourist board. We work in partnership with the industry to develop the visitor experience across England, plan national tourism strategy, grow the value of tourism in England and provide advocacy for the industry and our visitors. Our work is underpinned by robust research and customer insights. For corporate information see www.visitengland.org and for consumer information see www.visitengland.com


About Auckland Castle Trust:
The Auckland Castle Trust is transforming Auckland Castle into a heritage, arts and faith destination of international significance, helping to reinvigorate Bishop Auckland and stimulate economic regeneration.


The charity, which launched in 2012, is also continuing to work closely with other charitable organisations, community groups and schools across the North East, offering exciting ways to engage with heritage and art and to develop new skills and interests.

Auckland Castle Trust is proud to be supported by a wide range of charities, businesses and individuals, including the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).  A full list of existing donors and project partners is available at www.aucklandcastle.org/supporters/

Published: 10, February, 2017

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