Council is in line for top award

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COUNCIL bosses are celebrating being short-listed for a national tourism award for hosting the Tall Ships Races 2010.

Hartlepool Borough Council has been named as a finalist in the category of “Best Event in the Year in 2010” in the 2012 VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.

All finalists are guaranteed to receive either a gold, silver, bronze or highly commended award.

But the council will not know whether it has scooped the top prize until the winners are announced at a ceremony in Leicester on May 22.

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond said: “The visit of the Tall Ships Races to Hartlepool was a resounding success and really placed the town on the map.

“A lot of hard work went into making the event such a success and I am delighted that this has been recognised.

“We will be keeping our fingers firmly crossed between now and May 22 that we win the top award.

“Such an award really would be the icing on the cake after Hartlepool won the Tourism Event of the Year award at the North East England Tourism Awards last year and the council, along with its partners PD Ports and Hartlepool Marina, were highly commended in the Municipal Journal’s Public Private Partnership Achievement of the Year award.”

The Tall Ships Races 2010 saw Hartlepool host 59 vessels and 2,000 crew members from around the world between August 6 and August 10.

Council chiefs say around 970,000 visitors were attracted to the event, with 717,800 from outside Hartlepool, and £26.5m worth of economic impact was created in the local economy.

VisitEngland chief executive James Berresford added: “I would like to congratulate all those nominated as VisitEngland Awards for Excellence finalists this year. This is no small achievement in a year when we have received a record number of submissions.

“The quality of submissions this year has been outstanding and Hartlepool Borough Council can justifiably take credit and pride in earning a place at the top of their category in England. I wish everyone all the best for the final in May.”