Southampton was a big winner in the 2020/21 Tourism SouthEast ‘Beautiful South Awards for Excellence’ held on Thursday 4 March. Steamship Shieldhall was awarded a Gold Certificate and title of ‘Small Visitor Attraction of the Year’, whilst SEE Southampton were awarded Silver Experience and Event of the Year’. In addition, Sandra Lochhead of SEE Southampton and Roger Townsend of FEPOW75 were both chosen as ‘Unsung Heroes’.
John Rose, Chairman of the Shieldhall Charity, was delighted with the award. ‘2020 was to have been our 65th anniversary year, but Covid-19 meant no sailings were possible. This award gives us the perfect boost and platform as we plan ahead for 2021, and is recognition to the invaluable work of our volunteers and supporters, who help to keep Shieldhall ‘Alive and Steaming’ and a member of the National Historic Fleet. 25,000 volunteer hours are put in each year, across engineering, deck, bridge, purser, catering, retail, marketing and management teams, with each volunteer keen that visitors can experience the steamship style sailings and atmosphere of yesteryear.’ Shieldhall pipped Oxford Castle Unlocked (Silver) and Hastings Museum and Art Gallery (Bronze) to the award.
SEE Southampton were recognised with a Silver Certificate in the Experience and Event of the Year category, being placed ahead of the Hampshire Food Festival (Bronze). Action Watersports of Kent won gold in this category. Maurice Keys, Chairman of SEE Southampton, noted: ‘It’s wonderful that Southampton is being recognised for the quality of its attractions, events, and people – especially with the city looking ahead this year to its City of Culture bid.’
Both Steamship Shieldhall and SEE Southampton are looking forward to commencing their operations in early summer when Covid restrictions ease.
In total, 63 businesses and tourism professionals received Gold, Silver, or Bronze awarded over a day of ceremonies. Despite the unprecedented year, the show did go on. Run by Tourism South East in partnership with Services for Tourism Ltd, the Awards recognise achievements in the tourism industry over the past year. The Grand Brighton, along with representatives from sponsors Anytime Booking, Brighton & Hove City Council, Clockwork Marketing, Fallow and Fields, Forthglade, Hoogly Tea, Hotel Perfect, Jarrang, Quality in Tourism, Saffery Champness, Stanlake Park Wine Estate, Tozers, Welcome to Excellence and WorldPay joined Tourism South East to recognise the difficult circumstances and the incredible lengths South East tourism businesses have gone to.
Fran Downton, Chief Executive of Tourism South East, said: “Congratulations to all our finalists. Achieving excellence is not easy, particularly in the year we have just navigated. All the finalists can be extremely proud of what they have achieved. I was blown away by the quality, positivity, and innovation of the tourism businesses we have across the South East. Many of the winners are truly world-class. I am extremely grateful to the sponsors and voluntary judges who make the Awards possible. Thank you also to my co-host and headline sponsor, Andrew from the Grand Brighton, who ensured that although we could not be there in person, all our finalists were extended a warm welcome. We look forward to celebrating with our winners and working alongside them as they lead the way in a year of recovery”.
Andrew Mosley, Headline sponsor, The Grand Brighton said: “What a lineup! Huge congratulations to all of the winners and nominees, we’re sure these awards are made even sweeter after a year of such highs and lows. It’s a pleasure to be part of such a positive celebration amongst many friends and colleagues within the hospitality industry. Here’s to 2021 and continuing to support our industry, celebrate successes and help each other bounce back bigger and better than ever.”