A Victorian singing policeman is said to be ‘humbled’ to finish runner-up in a national tourism award.
Discover Shropshire & Telford, the tourism board for the area, are celebrating as their nominee for VisitEngland Tourism Superstar 2020, Ironbridge’s iconic Victorian policeman Guy Rowlands, is named runner-up.
At a time of great challenge for the national and local tourism sector, Guy’s success in this competition has provided a much needed boost of positivity.
After a trio of honors at the West Midlands Tourism awards in February and a host of finalists in the National Tourism Excellence Awards, this is a moment of celebration for tourism people and businesses across Shropshire and Telford. In a close run national poll, Guy finished second place behind winner Lorry Middleton of Hovertravel in the Isle of Wight, who secured 36% of the public votes.
“This whole experience has been extremely humbling, first of all to be nominated for this award by our local tourism organisation, Discover Shropshire & Telford, and then to receive the number of votes from the public across the UK,” said Guy. “I’m just glad that the work I do has obviously left an impression on all of those who have visited Ironbridge Gorge Museums and Blists Hill Victorian Town over the years.
“What I’m really looking forward to now is being able to return to Blists Hill and to bring entertainment and light to our visitor, when this is all over, people are going to need that more than ever.”
Guy, who lives in Brownhills, has been the Victorian town’s bobby for over 21 years and can be seen patrolling the streets of Blists Hill on his bicycle, making unforgettable memories for international and national visitors across all ages and generations.
He takes 250,000 people each year back to the 1900s and is famed for playing songs on the piano and singing a merry tune at the attraction’s The New Inn Pub. As well as being popular with groups, schools and grandparents Guy is also brilliant with those visitors with learning difficulties and with dementia care needs.
Carolyn Healy, Cabinet Member for Visitor Economy & World Heritage for Telford & Wrekin Council said: “Guy is a great ambassador, not only for our UNESCO World Heritage Site but for the whole of Shropshire as a visitor destination.
“Receiving this recognition nationally is a testament to the incredible work he does in delivering unforgettable visitors experience for those travelling here from across the UK and the world, but Guy is also a local hero too and an iconic and important part of community pride.” Nick Ralls, Chief Executive of Ironbridge Gorge Museums, said: “We were thrilled that Guy, our very own Victorian policeman, is the runner-up in the VisitEngland Tourism Superstar Awards.
“It was particularly welcome news during these extraordinary times and gives the whole museum reason to celebrate.
“Guy national recognition goes to show that the public, of all generations, hold him in great esteem too. “We can’t wait to reopen our doors so that Guy, along with the rest of the team, can welcome, entertain and educate visitors once again.”