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Severn Valley Railway makes finals of national awards

Severn Valley Railway has been named as a finalist in the UK tourism industry’s national Awards for Excellence.

SVR volunteers cleaning No 70 'Elizabeth II' in its Platinum Jubilee purple livery
SVR volunteers cleaning No 70 'Elizabeth II' in its Platinum Jubilee purple livery

Following a judging process by tourism industry experts, VisitEngland has selected the heritage railway as one of three finalists in its new Resilience and Innovation category.

SVR managing director Helen Smith said: “This is an outstanding achievement for the Severn Valley Railway, and recognition for the amazing hard work and talents of our volunteers and paid staff.

“To survive the devastating impacts of the Covid pandemic has taken incredible strength, brave decisions and many changes to the way we work.

"For example, our most recent innovation has been to paint a locally-based locomotive purple, to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

“Resilience and innovation have truly been our watch words, and we are so pleased that VisitEngland has acknowledged our achievements by choosing us as finalists.”

The railway won a regional award for Resilience and Innovation from Visit Worcestershire in March this year, and as a result was put forward for the national VisitEngland Awards along with hundreds of other businesses from across the country.

The Visit Worcestershire judges were impressed by the improvements the railway made in its virtual experience, digital public relations, collaborations, wider tourism support and business diversification, calling the organisation ‘an inspiration to others’.

They also highlighted the railway’s apprenticeship scheme.

VisitEngland chief executive Patricia Yates said: “These awards celebrate the businesses and individuals in tourism across England who have delivered excellence during the last year and it is fantastic to see such an outstanding list of finalists.

“The impressive list reflects the sheer scale of innovation, quality and experiences across England’s tourism industry and I congratulate all the finalists and wish them the very best of luck.

“Millions of jobs and local economies depend on tourism and this year’s awards are also a timely opportunity to acknowledge the determination and dedication of tourism businesses as they rebuild, and continue to champion best practice and customer service excellence, providing visitors with a stand-out experience.”

The awards ceremony will take place at Birmingham Library on June 8.

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