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Voting opens to support York Viking, Frigga Boardotter, in her quest to be crowned Visit England’s Tourism Superstar


Voting opens this week to decide the winner of Tourism Superstar 2013, run by national tourist board VisitEngland. Viking reenactor Colleen Davanney from York – better known as JORVIK Viking Centre’s ‘Frigga Boardotter’ – is one of the ten who has made it through to the final shortlist. The title recognises the dedication and passion of people working in the tourism industry, and highlights those who go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure visitors have a priceless experience.

Colleen, who was nominated for the accolade by tourism agency Visit York, is one of a total of ten potential superstars making it to the final of these awards, which first launched last year as part of English Tourism Week. Colleen has been a re-enactor for Jorvik and Barley Hall in York telling tales of the Vikings & Tudors for over ten years.

Gillian Cruddas MBE, Chief Executive for Visit York said, ‘Colleen can make a crowd of 100 children silent within 5 seconds. Her story telling is spell binding and she makes history come to life with amazing passion; from explaining how the Vikings made shoes to dispelling the myths that the Vikings were vicious and had helmets with horns. We’re delighted that Colllen has a chance to win this accolade, representing York and Yorkshire and hope people across the country will vote for her.’

VisitEngland has teamed up with The Daily Mirror to launch an online public vote. Visit to watch a short film featuring all potential superstars, and decide who you think should be crowned Tourism Superstar 2013.

Everyone who votes will be entered into a prize draw to win a weekend break for two including dinner, attractions passes and tickets to a show. The voting will be open until 8th March, and the winning Tourism Superstar will be announced during English Tourism Week 2013 (16-24 March).

This year the award focuses on employees at English visitor attractions. The shortlisted candidates are:

• Colleen Davanney, Jorvik Viking Centre – York
• Elaine Munday, Exbury Gardens – New Forest
• Wayne Grimston, Longleat Safari & Adventure Park – Wiltshire
• Sally Randell, Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden – Norwich
• Simon Entwistle, Samlesbury Hall – Lancashire
• Coriena Brierley, Coventry Transport Museum – Coventry
• Claire Preece, Kents Cavern – Devon
• Anthony Gales, Beamish Museum – Durham
• Brian Grover, Museum of London Docklands – London
• Colin Spargo, National Maritime Museum – Cornwall

David Curtis-Brignell, Chairman of English Tourism Week, commented:
“The search for VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar 2013 has unearthed some real unsung heroes of the industry, and we want as many people as possible to watch the film and witness first-hand the passion and dedication of the shortlisted candidates. Vote for your favourite, to be in with a chance to win a fantastic weekend away in England!”

Gillian continued, ‘Colleen just loves to pass on the joy of history to children. She belongs to a re-enactment group and also does considerable voluntary work for the Ryedale Folk Museum in North Yorkshire, helping children and adults learn about history in a fun way. She has warmth, laughter and incredible knowledge, if discovered by the BBC we reckon she’d be snapped up.’

The winning Tourism Superstar will be invited to collect their award in person at VisitEngland’s Awards for Excellence held in May this year, where a gathered audience from across the whole of the tourism industry can recognise the contribution frontline staff make to tourism across England. The tourism industry as whole is worth £97billion to the UK economy and supports over 2 million jobs. ENDS.

Notes to Editors:

• Vote for one of the Tourism Superstars for your chance to win a weekend break for two in Brighton, courtesy of VisitBrighton and VisitEngland. Prize includes train travel to Brighton, two nights’ B&B accommodation, one dinner, attractions passes and tickets to a show.
• Accommodation to be two people sharing one room (double or twin), subject to availability excluding Bank Holidays and the Brighton Pride weekend (4-6 August).
• For more information visit .

About Visit York

• Visit York is supported by the City of York Council and over 700 tourism businesses and works in partnership with Visit England.
• Visit York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure and business visitor, and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York. Visit York is responsible for leisure and conference marketing, visitor services (running the city’s Visitor Information Centre), training and ensuring a quality visitor experience.
• Visit York is the driving force of the city’s tourism industry. Key facts:
7.1 million visitors
£443 million total visitor spend
23, 000 jobs

About VisitEngland

• VisitEngland is the country’s national tourist board. We work in partnership with the industry to develop the visitor experience across England, plan national tourism strategy, grow the value of tourism in England and provide advocacy for the industry and our visitors
• Work is underpinned by robust research and customer insights. You can access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics on
• For corporate information see and for consumer information see

About English Tourism Week

• English Tourism Week is led by the national tourist board, VisitEngland, and is an industry-wide initiative designed to shine a light on the importance of tourism in England.
• The industry as whole is worth £97billion to the UK economy and supports over 2 million jobs. Hundreds of tourism organisations and businesses will put on events to celebrate English Tourism Week this year.
• For more information about English Tourism Week see