Vote now for Durham's next tourism superstar

THE vote has opened to find the 2018 Durham Tourism Superstar.

The award finds the unsung heroes of tourism in the county who make visitors’ experiences magical and unforgettable.

This year’s contenders all show great passion and dedication, and the shortlist of five shows enormous variety: from volunteers to people who run their own businesses, from people who work in hotels or at tourist attractions to a dark skies photographer and a glampervanner.

The winner of the 2018 vote will be announced at Visit County Durham’s annual garden party at Beamish Hall on July 24, and will then go on to represent the county in a national tourism superstar award.

Since the Durham competition was launched in 2014, it has had great national success with two Durham superstars – Lilian Groves of Durham Cathedral, and Matthew Henderson of Beamish Museum – going on to be crowned national winners, and last year’s Durham superstar, Richard Darlington of Hall Hill Farm in Lanchester, made it through to the national top ten.

Voting closes at midday on Friday, July 13.

See this year's candidates and vote for your favourite at the bottom of the page...

Leanne Jeffrey, General Manager of Kingslodge Hotel, Durham

The Northern Echo: 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 County Durham 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

The Northern Echo: 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

The Northern Echo: John Fraser from Castle Coast Campers Limited

JOHN is the boss, cleaner and friendly face at this vintage VW campervan hire business, which offers people campervan holidays, honeymoons, naughty weekends and general times of loveliness seeing the great northern countryside and experiencing its hospitality from an iconic 1970s VW Campervan.

He always goes the extra mile to give every customer an enjoyable experience, and is amazingly enthusiastic and very knowledgeable, not just about the Campers but about where people should go for their different interests and or a special occasion, or to stop off for a bite of great local food.

He works tirelessly to make sure the Campers are immaculate, getting through incredible amounts of cleaning materials and polish, and he has transformed the customer experience of vehicle hire into “Glampervanning”.

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

The Northern Echo: 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

The Northern Echo: 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.

bike trails