STAFF and volunteers at Beamish Museum are celebrating after winning a national award.

The open air visitor attraction received the Customer Commitment Award at the British Chambers of Commerce’s annual Chamber Business Awards 2019 in London.

Beamish beat off competition from businesses and organisations from across the country to win the prestigious award and was the only museum in the country to be shortlisted in any category. The judges praised Beamish for showing excellence and commitment in customer service and “always putting the visitor first”.

Rhiannon Hiles, the museum’s deputy director, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Beamish has won this national award.

“It’s fantastic to be recognised in this way and it’s thanks to our amazing staff and volunteers, who always go the extra mile to make sure our visitors have an exceptional experience.

“We are proud to be representing the region on a national stage.”

The County Durham open air museum brings the North East’s history to life, through the 1820s, 1900s, 1940s and 1950s, and has around 500 staff and 500 volunteers.

The £20 million Remaking Beamish project, the biggest development in the museum’s history, includes a 1950s Town, 1950s Farm and expansion of the Georgian area, including an inn where visitors can stay overnight.

Sarah Howard, chairwoman of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Bringing the North-East’s history to life, Beamish, The Living Museum of the North has demonstrated excellence and commitment in the ever-important area of customer service.

“The award recognises firms who go that extra mile in customer care and business growth strategy.

“Congratulations to the entire team on its hard work and always putting the visitor first.”

Beamish went through to the national final, which was held on Thursday after winning the regional Customer Commitment Award.

Beamish recently featured in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate UK Travelist and gift shop team leader Emily Hope was named national VisitEngland Superstar earlier this year.

The museum is a member of the North East England Chamber of Commerce, who supported the application for the award.

Chamber member Tharsus, from Blyth, won the Employer of the Year award.

Lesley Moody, who is president of the North-East England Chamber of Commerce, said: “Both Tharsus and Beamish are fantastic examples of our North-East business community.

“They have outstanding teams who deliver ambitious growth plans, create jobs and are highly innovative in their approach.”