Washington attraction wins national tourism award

Above L-R: John Oliver, Leanne McCormella, Gill Pipes and Jane Ramshaw from WWT Washington Wetland Centre 'are presented with their award by Penelope Viscountess Cobham, Chairman of VisitEngland.
Above L-R: John Oliver, Leanne McCormella, Gill Pipes and Jane Ramshaw from WWT Washington Wetland Centre 'are presented with their award by Penelope Viscountess Cobham, Chairman of VisitEngland.
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WASHINGTON’S renowned wetlands bird centre has landed another feather in its cap by winning a prestigious national tourism award.

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust has clinched the highly commended prize in the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year category at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2013.

The accolade means the 45-hectare nature reserve and visitor centre is now officially the fourth best in England.

Staff collected the award at a ceremony in Manchester.

Acting centre manager Gill Pipes said: “To be deemed the fourth best small visitor attraction in England is fantastic and truly reflects the ethos of the centre and the people who work here.

“As well as the tireless physical work which goes into creating and maintaining such a diverse site, we strive to be warm, welcoming and thoughtful.

“I believe it is this which encourages the affinity with our site that many visitors express.”

She added: “There are some amazing tourism destinations across both our region and the whole of the country. To be recognised among these is a real treat for us all.”

Sue Gill, of Welcome to Excellence, which trains people in customer service and sponsored the award, praised the Washington centre for its commitment to wildlife and its visitors alike.

She added: “Congratulations to WWT Washington Wetland Centre, who are worthy winners. We wish them continued success.”

The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust nationally has been monitoring wildlife in the UK for more than 60 years and acts to identify and save severely threatened wildlife.

It has more than 200,000 worldwide members and around one million people visit its UK sites each year.

In Washington it has a mix of wetland, woodland, nature reserve and meadows, and is home to rare and exotic wildfowl, otters, amphibians and insects.

More information about the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2013 is at www.visitenglandawards.org.