Cast your votes for York Viking, Frigga Boardotter, to be England's Tourism Superstar 2013


Voting opens to support York Viking, Frigga Boardotter, in her quest to be crowned Visit England's Tourism Superstar

Voting opens this week to decide the winner of Tourism Superstar 2013, run by national tourist board VisitEngland.  Viking reenactor Colleen Davanney from York – better known as JORVIK Viking Centre’s ‘Frigga Boardotter’ – is one of the ten who has made it through to the final shortlist.  The title recognises the dedication and passion of people working in the tourism industry, and highlights those who go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure visitors have a priceless experience.

Colleen, who was nominated for the accolade by tourism agency Visit York, is one of a total of ten potential superstars making it to the final of these awards, which first launched last year as part of English Tourism Week.    Colleen has been a re-enactor for Jorvik and Barley Hall in York telling tales of the Vikings & Tudors for over  ten years. 

Gillian Cruddas MBE, Chief Executive for Visit York said, ‘Colleen can make a crowd of 100 children silent within 5 seconds.  Her story telling is spell binding and she makes history come to life with amazing passion; from explaining how the Vikings made shoes to dispelling the myths that the Vikings were vicious and had helmets with horns.  We’re delighted that Colllen has a chance to win this accolade, representing York and Yorkshire and hope people across the country will vote for her.’

VisitEngland has teamed up with The Daily Mirror to launch an online public vote. Visit  to watch a short film featuring all potential superstars, and decide who you think should be crowned Tourism Superstar 2013. 

Everyone who votes will be entered into a prize draw to win a weekend break for two including dinner, attractions passes and tickets to a show.  The voting will be open until 8th March, and the winning Tourism Superstar will be announced during English Tourism Week 2013 (16-24 March).

This year the award focuses on employees at English visitor attractions.  The shortlisted candidates are:

Colleen Davanney, Jorvik Viking Centre – York Elaine Munday, Exbury Gardens – New Forest Wayne Grimston, Longleat Safari & Adventure Park – Wiltshire Sally Randell, Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden – Norwich Simon Entwistle, Samlesbury Hall – Lancashire Coriena Brierley, Coventry Transport Museum – Coventry Claire Preece, Kents Cavern – Devon Anthony Gales, Beamish Museum – Durham Brian Grover, Museum of London Docklands – London Colin Spargo, National Maritime Museum – Cornwall 

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David Curtis-Brignell, Chairman of English Tourism Week, commented:

“The search for VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar 2013 has unearthed some real unsung heroes of the industry, and we want as many people as possible to watch the film and witness first-hand the passion and dedication of the shortlisted candidates. Vote for your favourite, to be in with a chance to win a fantastic weekend away in England!”   

Gillian continued, ‘Colleen just loves to pass on the joy of history to children.  She belongs to a re-enactment group and also does considerable voluntary work for the Ryedale Folk Museum in North Yorkshire, helping children and adults learn about history in a fun way.   She has warmth, laughter and incredible knowledge, if discovered by the BBC we reckon she’d be snapped up.’

The winning Tourism Superstar will be invited to collect their award in person at VisitEngland’s Awards for Excellence held in May this year, where a gathered audience from across the whole of the tourism industry can recognise the contribution frontline staff make to tourism across England. The tourism industry as whole is worth £97billion to the UK economy and supports over 2 million jobs.

Vote for Colleen here at

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