TEIGNBRIDGE is showing a strong presence in a prestigious tourism awards line-up.
No fewer than seven of ‘Devon’s Top Attractions’ 37 members have been named as finalists in the prestigious 2020 Devon Tourism Awards and among them are Pennywell Farm in Buckfastleigh; the South Devon Railway in Buckfastleigh and Powderham Castle in Kenton.
The remaining four are Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum; Stuart Line Cruises of Exmouth; The Big Sheep in Bideford; and South Molton’s Quince Honey Farm.
The awards are organised on behalf of the county’s destination marketing organisation, Visit Devon. A spokesman said: ‘This comes as really welcome news for Devon as the local and national tourism and hospitality industries are still navigating through the Covid-19 pandemic, with most West Country businesses facing the worst financial crisis they have ever had to endure.’
Last year was a tough one, with some attractions unable to open at all,. The spokesman added: ‘Within this ever-changing crisis situation and uncertainty for the future caused by CV-19, all of the finalists have shown solid leadership, innovation, re-invention, and adaptation of their attractions, as well as demonstrating why they are so successful and exhibiting a strong, unified will to survive.’
Nominated as a finalist in the Devon Tourism awards ‘Business Leader’ category, Dick Wood of the South Devon Railway, said: ‘It was a pleasant surprise to be nominated for an award, and being recognised as a finalist is not only an honour for the South Devon Railway and the Devon Association of Tourist Attractions but also for me personally of course.’
Dick has been publicising the successful ‘SOS’ funding appeal for the South Devon Railway over the last year, and has also assisted with the nearby West Somerset Railway’s ‘emergency’ appeal voluntarily too which has also been a success.
To date, these two iconic heritage railways have raised a staggering £2.5 million between them – money which will hopefully help to save both West Country steam lines for the future.
He added: ‘Seeing that so many other DATA members have reached the finalist stage too is a great honour for everyone. It just goes to endorse the quality of our Association and the high calibre of our members. It augurs well for the future that we are going into 2021 as a stronger, unified organisation and with more members than last year to promote the best of Devon.’
Chris Murray from Pennywell Farm is also a finalist in the same ‘Business Leader’ category.
Pennywell has also been awarded finalist status for the ‘Visitor Attraction of the Year’ Award, and is up against two other DATA members in the same visitor attraction category with Quince Honey Farm and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.
Pennywell employee Hannah Pattie is a finalist in the ‘Unsung Hero’ award. She shares finalist status with fellow members Naomi Hunt from Powderham Castle and the late Ian Stuart from Stuart Line Cruises, sadly a posthumous recognition for Ian who sadly died last year.
The 2020 Devon Tourism Awards received 124 entries and nominations with 66 having been selected as finalists.
All of the finalists will have to wait until March 12 to learn whether they have won gold, silver, bronze or a special award.
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