The search is on for Durham Tourism Superstar 2018

The search is on for Durham Tourism Superstar 2018

Visit County Durham has announced a shortlist of five shining stars from Durham’s tourism industry who are hoping to become Durham’s Tourism Superstar 2018.

The annual competition, organised by Visit County Durham, is seeking to showcase the best in customer service offered to visitors to the county. Finalists were shortlisted by a panel of industry professionals following an open call for county-wide nominations.



The award, which is the fifth of its kind, recognises the dedication and passion of those working in Durham’s tourism industry, and will be awarded to an individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure visitors to Durham have a priceless experience.


Michelle Gorman, Managing Director at Visit County Durham, said: “We’re delighted to announce the five shortlisted finalists for Durham Tourism Superstar 2018. The quality and variety of entries this year was remarkable and we’re thrilled to showcase the passion, enthusiasm and dedication of the chosen finalists who make our county such a great place to visit”.


This year’s Durham Tourism Superstar finalists are:-


  1. Leanne Jeffrey, General Manager of Kingslodge Inn, Durham
  2. Angela Pickering, Volunteer at Tanfield Railway
  3. John Fraser from Castle Coast Campers Limited
  4. Emily Hope, Project Officer: Entrance Development at Beamish, The Living Museum of the North
  5. Gary Lintern of Gary Lintern Photography


The winner of Durham Tourism Superstar will be announced at Visit County Durham’s annual Garden Party, which will be taking place at Beamish Hall Hotel on Thursday 24 July 2018. The winner will also then be entered into the national Tourism Superstar award ballot, organised by VisitEngland.


To vote for Durham Tourism Superstar 2018, visit: Voting is open until Friday 13 July.




Pictured: All Durham Tourism Superstar 2018 finalists


All enquiries:

Sophie Hardy T: 03000 261 223


Social Media: Twitter: @VCDBusiness | Facebook: VCD Business | LinkedIn: Visit County Durham

Notes to editors


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.


Durham Tourism Superstar

The high-profile national competition has recognised several Durham Tourism Superstars over the years. Lilian Groves, an octogenarian volunteer senior tour guide at Durham Cathedral took the crown in 2016, and in 2015 Matthew Henderson, engagement and participation team assistant at Beamish Museum, triumphed, having originally joined the team as an apprentice. Auckland Castle Park Ranger Alan Anderson was a finalist in 2017.

2016’s Durham Tourism Superstar winner Alan Anderson from Auckland Castle and Richard Darlington from Hall Hill Farm (2017) both went on to become finalists in the national VisitEngland’s Superstar award. 

Finalist Profiles

Leanne Jeffrey, General Manager of Kingslodge Hotel, Durham

Crown The Kingslodge Inn’s Leanne as our Durham Tourism Superstar! 
By the time you leave the doors of The Kingslodge Inn you’ll be fired with the same enthusiasm to explore the county as Leanne has in sharing it.  
Whether that’s putting itineraries together for attractions like Killhope, handing out her Durham Treasure Hunt, or finding Leanne’s ‘Kingslodge Inn Stone’ hidden in the city as they explore Durham too, Leanne goes above and beyond so people have an unforgettable visit. 
‘I always want to go with them,’ she laughs! Sometimes she does –taking an elderly ‘nana’ guest in her car to Durham Cathedral! 


Angela Pickering, volunteer at Tanfield Railway

I’ve volunteered at the Tanfield Railway, the World’s Oldest Railway for over 10 years now. I love steam, and don’t mind getting my hands dirty to preserve our industrial railway heritage. 
If you visit the Railway, you’ll more than likely see me with a big smile on my face driving or firing the steam loco, waving the flag as guard or in the signal box pulling levers.  
I originate from ‘down south’ but can’t imagine living anywhere else now! Durham is a beautiful place, my favourite spot is the Causey Valley where the trains run through. Deers, trees, the river and steam trains - just magical!


John Fraser from Castle Coast Campers Limited

John always goes the extra mile to give every customer an enjoyable experience - making memories is what it is all about for him. From the moment people arrive at our depot or simply approach him in the street, he takes the time to tell them all about the Vintage VW Campervans and the fabulous places you can go in them in our region. 
John is a firm favourite with families with children, his sense of adventure and enthusiasm is infectious and he is as excited as the kids are when they arrive to see their gleaming hotel on wheels waiting to whisk them away for fun times! 
Nothing is too much trouble for John; where excellent customer service is involved he really is one of Durham’s tourism superstars.


Emily Hope, Project Officer: Entrance Development at Beamish, The Living Museum of the North

I’m incredibly honoured and genuinely humbled to have been shortlisted for Durham Tourism Superstar!
I work at Beamish’s Entrance, doing everything I can to make sure our 764,000 annual visitors enjoy an amazing experience.
I wholeheartedly love my job, as I enjoy nothing more than helping visitors every day.
No two days are the same, I’ve done everything from Suffragette marches, processing tickets and shovelling snow to reuniting lost visitors, 1950s dancing and directing traffic.
One of my proudest achievements is becoming a Dementia Friends Champion and training over 100 Dementia Friends. 
I would be truly grateful for your vote!


Gary Lintern of Gary Lintern Photography

A vote for me is a vote for the beautiful Durham countryside.  I'm committed to photographing it and helping as many people as possible do the same.
Our Facebook groups, like I Love Weardale and I Love Durham, have followers as far away as Australia.  People often travel over 100 miles to photograph the county, and observe the dark skies of the North Pennines AONB with me.  They spread the word, and share their photographs.  
The best way to attract tourists to the area is to show them we've got to offer.  The rest will take care of itself.

Published: 26, June, 2018

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