(25 April 2020) When it comes to brightening up your day, Hovertravel’s Lorry Middleton is often quoted as the perfect tonic. Now it’s official, as he wins the Visit England/The Mirror Tourism Superstar 2020.
Lorry has been topping the polls since voting started in March and throughout the current climate, people have continued to put their support behind the Hovertravel favourite.
Nominated by Visit Isle of Wight in the nationwide search, Lorry saw off tough competition from 9 other finalists across England to be crowned the winner, taking an incredible 32% of the vote, ahead of Guy Rowland from Shropshire and Hayley Mullaney of the Cotswold Wildlife Park.
Even though the Coronavirus pandemic has seen a change to the normal pattern of work for Lorry, it hasn’t changed his sunny outlook one bit, and he was thrilled to hear that he had been named the nation’s favourite:
Lorry Middleton, Hovercraft Handling Agent at Hovertravel: ‘I am overwhelmed by the support and love people across the country have shown – thank you to everyone who voted. I have always thought of Hovertravel and the Isle of Wight as the best of British and this award is for all those people who work so hard to make a trip to the Island on our hovercraft a truly memorable visit.’
Will Myles, Managing Director at Visit Isle of Wight says:
‘We are thrilled that Lorry has been crowned Tourism Superstar and I must say a huge thank you to everyone who voted.
‘Anyone that has had the pleasure of meeting Lorry at Hovertravel will know that this award is very fitting and Lorry truly deserves to win it.
‘Alongside being voted the BBC Countryfile magazine UK Holiday Destination of the Year, this is a fantastic boost to an already amazing island tourism product and we look forward to welcoming our visitors back to the Isle of Wight when the time is right.’
Neil Chapman, Managing Director at Hovertravel, says the award is a tribute to Lorry:
‘Everyone at Hovertravel is so proud of Lorry; he was already a customer service legend and now he is a tourism superstar. Lorry embodies all that is great about Hovertravel and the Isle of Wight – he is friendly, helpful and engages every individual with a view to making their trip special. Even in the current situation he has been bringing a smile to the faces of the key workers travelling with us. Thank you, Lorry – you lift all our spirits.’
Visit England Director Andrew Stokes says: ‘Lorry Middleton has taken the title for his tireless enthusiasm ensuring every visitor to the Isle of Wight he meets is well briefed and ready for the visit of a lifetime. And now, more than ever, we must celebrate and acknowledge the human faces in tourism as we work together to get our industry back on its feet.’
England’s Tourism Superstar in 2018 was Red Funnel employee Jim O’Reilly. He and the Southampton based cross-Solent ferry firm put their weight firmly behind Lorry to win. Jim says: ‘I’m so pleased to see that great customer service to and from the Island has been recognised for the second time in the last 3 years. This great customer service and big welcome will be waiting for everyone when we come out the other side of the current situation – and we WILL be back! Enjoy the ride Lorry! Congratulations!’
The award comes just months after the Isle of Wight was named as the UK’s favourite holiday destination by readers of Countryfile Magazine, providing a double boost to the message that the Isle of Wight is an ideal place to spend time away.