Visit York Tourism Awards - Judges

Polly Bennett (Judge Chair)
Founder & Editor, Little Vikings (York for kids)

Polly has been connecting families to the best of family-friendly York through her business, Little Vikings, for a decade. She’s been a London lawyer, a plugger for a major record label hanging out with rock stars, and even a medieval wench at The York Dungeon! Now she loves helping families make the most of their time in her hometown of York, ably assisted by her own three children.

Polly Bennett

Ann Gurnell
Ideas Group
A self-confessed brand, engagement and marketing geek, with a core strand of her DNA in tourism, destinations and attractions marketing. As Marketing Director of brand and business transforming Ideas Group, Ann works with York and international based tourism clients and the Ideas Group team delivered the award winning Let’s be York campaign for the city to reopen York post 2020’s CovidI9 lockdowns. Ann was also part of the team that created and opened York’s Chocolate Story in 2012.

Ann Gurnell

Brendan Paddison
Chair of the York Tourism Advisory Board
Brendan is Associate Dean in the Business School at York St John University. Brendan is Chair of the York Tourism Advisory Board and co-chair of the Tourism Education Futures Initiative (TEFI). He is internationally recognised for his work in tourism and has published widely on this subject.

Dr Brendan Paddison

Corina Inverno
Corina Inverno, Corina Inverno Communications

For the past 20 or so years I’ve loved doing all things marketing for museums, attractions, and destination management in York and North Yorkshire. With a passion for helping these businesses reach their customers, I set up Corina Inverno Communications in 2021. I was lucky enough to be asked to plan and manage the marketing campaign for Castle Howard’s Christmas in Narnia and am currently enjoying supporting the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

Corina Inverno

Charlie Croft
Tourism Lecturer and Assistant Director with City of York Council

Charlie was until recently Assistant Director with City of York Council and has led on a wide range of briefs for the council over the years including on culture and tourism. Having completed his PhD at York St John University Charlie is now embarking on new projects including teaching in tourism at York St John.

Charlies photo

Helen Simpson
Chair York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership or Chair Y&NY LEP
Born and bred in Yorkshire, Helen is an experienced Chair and Board Member, with a track record in leading organisations whilst undergoing change, including enabling digital innovation, business growth and community development. Her non-executive experience follows a senior executive career with BT where she led digital growth businesses and major deals, developed strategy and built commercial partnerships before leading BT’s volunteering programme globally. Helen currently Chair’s Broadacres Housing Association, a provider of social housing, extra care and specialist provision in North Yorkshire. She also serves as a Trustee with St Martin-in-the-Fields Charity in their work with the homeless and vulnerably housed.

Helen Simpson OBE

John Gallery
Managing Director of the Great Potential Tourism Consultancy and chairman of Herriot Country Tourism Group

John loves transforming hospitality and tourism businesses for the better. He does that with new ways to look at problems, and out-of-the-ordinary ideas you can implement without costing the earth. John has re-skilled himself countless times and it’s this eclectic bag of tools which he puts at your disposal providing Marketing and Management Consultancy, Mentoring, Research, Sales, & Public Relations.

John gallery

Dame Mary Archer DBE
Chair of the Science Museum Group’s Board of Trustees

Dame Mary Archer has been reappointed by the Prime Minster as Chair of the Science Museum Group’s Board of Trustees and will continue in the role until December 2023. She started her career as a physical chemist and has taught Chemistry in Oxford, Cambridge and London. Dame Mary has also had a long association with the NHS, serving as chair of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust between 2002 and 2012.

Dame Mary Archer

Mark Grewer
Managing Director at Hunter Gee Holroyd Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers
Mark has over 30 years of experience helping businesses grow into the success that they want to be. He also heads-up the corporate finance team, supporting clients with raising money to expand or sell their own business or buy existing businesses.

Mark Grewer High Res 1

Philip Bolson
Owner, Mr B Hospitality
Philip has over 33 years’ diverse experience in hospitality working at all levels from; ‘on the floor’ through to Board level, from budget to Luxury, and from small private ownership to Global organisations. He now works with a select number of businesses helping them grow and be brilliant

Philip Bolson

Gillian Greaves
Arts Council England
Gill Greaves, Relationships Manager Arts Council England North, works with Museums and Galleries across the Yorkshire and Humber area. With a background in Museums, Creative Industry, and Health and well-being, Gill lives in York and enjoys the diverse History, Culture, and people who make this City.

Gillian Greaves

Andy Wallhead
Chief Executive, WDH
Andy was appointed as Chief Executive of WDH in July 2019 having previously worked as Investment Director. Andy provides leadership to the organisation and works with the Board and Executive Team to deliver our Vision, Mission and strategic aims and objectives. Andy will develop and maintain partnerships and relationships to identify opportunities to work together for the benefit of our communities. Andy has worked in the Yorkshire region for over 30 years in variety of roles in both the private and public sector and is a Chartered Surveyor.

Andy Wallhead WDH March20 ph29