Off with the hiking boots
And a big ‘NO!’ to the thermals
The rucksacks are left behind
The TOG team were dressed to kill!
Even the wheelchair had a polish
White Rose Awards – here we come!

White Rose Awards

And what a night it was at the White Rose Awards 2019 from the Welcome to Yorkshire Team last month. The event was the biggest celebration of tourism in the UK. An evening to celebrate the wonderful things that have come out of Yorkshire – from food and drink to cultural heritage.

This year, the event was even bigger than before with several new categories being added to the list of awards.

So, donning evening wear (and how well we all scrubbed up), the TOG team, together with our guests from the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and DaVinci Mobility, headed to the First Direct Arena in Leeds for an evening of glitz and glamour.

White Rose Awards

The Outdoor Guide guests from The Yorkshire Dales National Park, Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and DaVinci Mobility

The evening began with a drinks reception where the 700 guests were entertained by acrobats and stilt walkers. A fanfare from the Barnsley Sea Cadets announced that it was time for the guests to make their way into the Arena, where the tables had been set up for the gala dinner.

It was amazing to see how the Arena had been transformed into a stunning setting for an evening of razzmatazz. The event was hosted by actor Natalie Anderson, and entertainment was provided by Chris Kamara, who sang a selection from his Christmas album. And what a cracking voice he has!

White Rose Awards

Natalie Anderson, TV presenter and host of the White Rose Awards, with Debs

White Rose Awards

Chris Kamara, ex footballer, Manager, TV presenter and entertainer, with Debs

After a spectacular carnival display from the dancers of the AnonyMas Carnival Leeds, it was time for the first batch of awards to be presented.

The Outdoor Guide was very proud and honoured to be the official sponsors of the Accessibility and Tourism Award – the first time that this award was to be presented as part of the White Rose Ceremony.

The eight brilliant category finalists for this award were Cottage In the Dales, The Deep, Hull Truck Theatre Company, The Jorvik Group, The Leeds Playhouse, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, The Yorkshire Events Centre and Yor Tours. All finalists were selected for their commitment to welcoming their guests whatever their needs and abilities.

Massive congratulations to The Deep who won the top award. It is amazing what The Deep has done to ensure inclusivity for all of their visitors, from wheelchair access to full changing room facilities, plus support for visitors with dementia and autism – everyone is included and welcomed at The Deep.

Hearty congratulations go to our good friends Diane and Andrew from Cottage in the Dales who took the Bronze Award. It was great to see that a small rural business is able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the giants that were finalists in this category.

White Rose Awards

Our good friends, Diane and Andrew from Cottage in the Dales, bronze winners of the Accessibility and Inclusion Awards

I felt very humble and proud to go up on stage to present the award. It was like a night at the Oscars. I was given the golden envelope to open and to announce…. “And the winner is … ( pause for a second…) THE DEEP!”

A huge cheer resounded from one corner of the arena whilst the rest of the room filled with applause. Once I had presented the award for accessibility, I was able to relax and enjoy the rest of the evening watching the awards.

White Rose Awards

Andrew and Debs enjoying the evening

Amanda Owens with Debs

Our good friend the Yorkshire Shepherdess, Amanda Owens with Debs

The night was full of glitz and glamour right from the off, and we were entertained by some truly amazing and talented acts. After the gala dinner, we danced the night way with live music from The Bootleggers. A brilliant end to a brilliant night.

And The TOG team were last to leave the arena … very early next morning!

White Rose Awards

Photo fun with Andy North and Gina Bradbury Fox

Well done to all the finalist and winners of the White Rose Awards, and thank you to the Welcome to Yorkshire Team for a spectacular gala evening. I am proud to be Yorkshire!