Time to nominate in the EDP/Visit Norfolk Tourism Awards 2015

Mark Wilkinson (the Canoeman) with his dog Mr Darcy.

Mark Wilkinson (the Canoeman) with his dog Mr Darcy. - Credit: Archant

As the countdown begins to the EDP/Visit Norfolk Tourism Awards 2015, tourism correspondent Stephen Pullinger will focus on two categories each week to help readers make their nominations.

The Boathouse next to Ormesby Broad. Michael and Belinda Minors.

The Boathouse next to Ormesby Broad. Michael and Belinda Minors. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

TOURISM PERSONALITY

Tourism Personality is a new category for 2015, sponsored by Kingsley Healthcare, to honour those memorable characters who really make a difference to your holiday or day trip.


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Judges will be looking for the giant personalities you will remember and talk about long after your holiday or visit.

We should all be proud of Norfolk's true tourism characters and want you to put them in the spotlight by entering online at norfolk.tourismawards.co.uk.

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Click here to nominate

Kingsley CEO Daya Thayan had the bright idea for this category as he recognises the joy such personalities can spread in his care homes.

We are not talking about customer care here (another category) which is equally important but can be delivered quietly and impressively without the customer taking undue notice. Indeed, customer care is often more about teamwork and the culture of the company.

In our quest for Tourism Person-ality we are looking for those giant characters who make their mark through their irrepressible sense of fun or wacky sense of humour.

Mr Thayan, whose Lowestoft-based company specialises in dementia care, says: 'We are proud to sponsor this category because we recognise it is the bright personalities of staff in our homes that make them so special for the residents and their families.'

As soon as he suggested this category, my mind turned to some of the characters I have encountered.

Force 10 on the Richter scale for irrepressible must be Mark Wilkinson – the Canoeman – who takes his customers on Broads adventures. Who can forget Mr Darcy, the spaniel who travels with him?

Former 1960s rocker Peter Jay is another contender in my mind. A whirlwind of energy, he has stamped his mark on the superb Great Yarmouth Hippodrome Circus.

However, it is YOUR choices that matter.

BEST FOOD AND DRINK TOURISM ATTRACTION

Best Food and Drink Tourism Attraction, sponsored by Norwich Print Solutions, is a hotly contested category with standards rising impressively year on year.

In judging Best Food and Drink Tourism Attraction, judges will be looking at customer feedback, levels of investment and the quality of the food with plus points for locally sourced, seasonal produce.

Click here to nominate

The level of investment going on in the sector could not be more perfectly illustrated than by last year's winner The Norfolk Mead Hotel in Coltishall.

Judges were impressed by the work of owners Anna Duttson and James Holliday in 'completely refurbishing the hotel to a very high standard'.

They noted: 'Within their first year they won their first rosette for their food which is all homemade – including the granola for breakfast.'

In expressing their pride at sponsoring the award, Norwich Print Solutions director Pippa Redmond said: 'Norfolk is home to UK leading tourist attractions and food and drink is an important part of the offer.'

Rising standards are certainly something I have noticed in my time as tourism correspondent – with some outstanding examples of investment.

Stephen Bourne's The Globe Inn at Wells was packed with lunchtime customers during my recent midweek visit and the fruits of a refurbishment lovingly overseen by the owner were as impressive as the food being brought out by attentive staff.

The same pride – putting the Great back into British tourism – shone through on my visits to the transformed Waveney Inn at Burgh St Peter and The Boathouse at Ormesby that has undergone massive investment to create a stunning pub/restaurant and wedding venue.

My list could go on – but the choice is YOURS.

For more information on the Awards go to http://norfolk.tourismawards.co.uk

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