Success for Yorkshire Wildlife Park in White Rose tourism awards

Doncaster’s crowning glory, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, has been highly commended in a major tourism competition.

Gary took to the stage with Tim Firth who was also given the honour after co-writing the musical The Girls, which will premiere at Leeds Grand Theatre on November 14.

They were met with a standing ovation by more than 1,000 finalists and special guests at the annual award ceremony which is the biggest tourism event of its kind in the UK.

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Welcome to Yorkshire’s exclusive film for Gary Barlow’s anthem ‘Yorkshire‎’ can be seen at

Watched by the original Calendar Girls, Gary Barlow told the audience: “This is amazing. I’ve got many awards but believe me this is going right in the middle of them. The reaction here tonight shows why we’re here. I’ve always played to great audiences here in Yorkshire and I’m hoping for that for the show.”

Tim Firth added: “As the son of a man from Doncaster and Leeds United supporter this is a very proud night for me.”

Guests included Lizzie Jones, the widow of rugby league star Danny Jones, who opened the show, the original Calendar Girls, Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Leeds Rhinos players as well as stars from Emmerdale. Leeds’ Nile Wilson was also at the event fresh from helping to take Britain to an historic Gymnastics World Championships team silver.

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Winners were announced across 16 categories ranging from Large Visitor Attraction to Yorkshire Restaurant of the Year at the event at first direct arena Leeds.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s Cheryl Williams said: “We were delighted to be highly commended after another record breaking year for Yorkshire Wildlife Park.”


Small Visitor Attraction - Burton Agnes Hall and Gardens, Driffield.

Large Visitor Attraction - The Forbidden Corner, Leyburn

Taste of Yorkshire Award - Lottie Shaw’s Bakery, Leeds

Self-Catering, Cruisers and Serviced Apartments Award -Dovecote Barns, York

Yorkshire Pub - Shibden Mill Inn, Halifax

Yorkshire Restaurant - The Hare Restaurant, Scawton

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Tourism Event - The Best Race in the World, The Juddmonte International, York

Caravan Holiday Park & Holiday Village Award - Humble Bee Farm, Scarborough

Bed & Breakfast / Guest Accommodation - Low Mill Guest House, Bainbridge

Large Hotel - The Black Swan Hotel, Helmsley

Small Hotel / Townhouse - Yorebridge House, Bainbridge

Business Tourism Award - The Coniston Hotel & Country Estate, Skipton

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Restaurant with Rooms - The Cleveland Tontine, Northallerton

Visitor Information Award - Thirsk Tourist Information, Thirsk

Yorkshire Arts & Culture Award - Hull Truck Theatre, Hull

Outstanding Customer Service Award - Wentbridge House Hotel, Pontefract


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Taste of Yorkshire: Tipple Tails at Wadsley Hall Farm Kitchen

Small Attraction of the Year: Yorkshire Trike Tours

Large Attraction of the Year: Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Self Catering, Cruisers & Serviced Apartments Award: Shire Cruisers

Tourism Event of the Year: The Freedom Festival, Hull

Small Hotel/Townhouse: Beverley Tickton Grange Hotel

Business Tourism Award: Bedern Hall, York

Arts & Culture Award: Alhambra Theatre, Bradford

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “What a night! We are proud to have been supported by such a mix of Yorkshire heroes as well as having one of the world’s biggest pop icons on stage with us.

“We are thrilled to have Gary Barlow and Tim Firth as honorary Yorkshiremen. They have done an incredible job of telling an extraordinary tale about a group of ordinary Yorkshire women and I am sure The Girls will be a major success.

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“And a very special thank you must go to all our winners for their achievement and their hard work. Winning a White Rose Award is a prestigious seal of approval, which helps show customers the high standards that each winner displays every day.”

The awards, run by official tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire, are the biggest tourism awards in the UK and have been recognising tourism stars for more than 25 years.

Chair of the independent panel of judges, Professor Colin Mellors, added: “Each year the task of selecting winners, and those we wish to commend, gets tougher.  The sheer range of what is on offer is remarkable and the quality of hospitality truly outstanding. 

“All those shortlisted can feel huge pride in making it this far.  Their work is at the heart of our leading tourism sector and underpins the broader visitor economy that is so important to Yorkshire.  The White Rose Awards are an important way to celebrate and acknowledge their many achievements.”

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The awards were backed by leading businesses including The HQ Collection (HQ Hospitality & Qdos Entertainment), Yorkshire Post, Carat, Beaver Furniture, Bluefin Insurance, The HQ Collection (HQ Hospitality & Qdos Entertainment), British Gas, Biffa, Yorkshire Water, House of Townend , Yorkshire Beer and Pub Association, eviivo, BBC Yorkshire, Colour Heroes, Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, Ingrid Flute’s Yorkshire Holiday Cottages and Barclays.

* Enjoy a glittering evening of fine dining and live music, whilst raising money for animal welfare and conservation.

The annual Snow Ball takes place on November 14 in the ice-themed Tsavo Lodge with a chilled champagne reception and a four course meal.

There will be a grand charity auction, including an African safari holiday courtesy of Mantis Hotels and an exclusive Yorkshire Wildlife Park tour including a flight over the park, a VIP tour and a night in the 4 star Crown Hotel in Bawtry for two people.

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All money raised on the evening from tickets and the auction will fund a variety of conservation projects supported by Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation.

Phone 01302 535057 or email [email protected]