Hovertravel Handling Agent Lorry Middleton has been named VisitEngland Tourism Superstar 2020.
Nominated by Visit Isle of Wight in the nationwide search, Lorry had been topping the polls since voting opened in March and saw off tough competition from nine other outstanding finalists across England, including Old Royal Naval College volunteer Jim Morrison and Oxfordshire zookeeper Hayley Mullaney.
Joining Hovertravel in 2011, Lorry has long been a favourite member of the team among Hovertravel customers having already been shortlisted in the Customer Service Superstar at the Beautiful South Awards in October last year. His commitment to the customer is his highest priority, ensuring that customers are seated comfortably, that they know what will happen at the other end of their journey and by making insightful suggestions and recommendations to improve the customer’s overall trip.
In addition, Lorry actively promotes the Isle of Wight using knowledge of the island built up over the years, and keeps himself abreast of the latest developments and offers. Actively contributing to marketing meetings, in 2019 he suggested a promotion to raise awareness of free travel for dogs onboard Hovertravel, which generated significant exposure in local press.
Reacting to news of his win, Lorry said, “I am overwhelmed by the support and love people across the country have shown – thank you to everyone who voted. I have always thought of Hovertravel and the Isle of Wight as the best of British and this award is for all those people who work so hard to make a trip to the island on our hovercraft a truly memorable visit.”
Neil Chapman, Managing Director at Hovertravel said, “Everyone at Hovertravel is so proud of Lorry; he was already a customer service legend and now he is a tourism superstar. Lorry embodies all that is great about Hovertravel and the Isle of Wight – he is friendly, helpful and engages every individual with a view to making their trip special. Even in the current situation he has been bringing a smile to the faces of the key workers travelling with us. Thank you Lorry – you lift all our spirits.”
Will Myles, Managing Director at Visit Isle of Wight commented, “We are thrilled that Lorry has been crowned Tourism Superstar and I must say a huge thank you to everyone who voted. Anyone that has had the pleasure of meeting Lorry at Hovertravel will know that this award is very fitting and Lorry truly deserves to win it.
“Alongside being voted the BBC Countryfile magazine UK Holiday Destination of the Year, this is a fantastic boost to an already amazing island tourism product and we look forward to welcoming our visitors back to the Isle of Wight when the time is right.”
VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said, “Lorry Middleton has taken the title for his tireless enthusiasm ensuring every visitor to the Isle of Wight he meets is well briefed and ready for the visit of a lifetime. And now, more than ever, we must celebrate and acknowledge the human faces in tourism as we work together to get our industry back on its feet.”