Chairman Mike Ball, managing director Helen Smith, Shelagh Paterson of the SVR’s Charitable Trust and Michelle Bevon of the SVR Company Limited attended a prestigious ceremony at the Library of Birmingham, hosted by broadcaster Clare Balding.
Widely considered to be the most coveted accolades in English tourism, the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence champion the very best of the country’s tourism industry, celebrating quality, innovation and best practice.
“To have received this recognition at a national level for Resilience and Innovation is something that every single one of us at the SVR should be proud of,” said Helen Smith. “Since those first days of lockdown, we’ve faced countless difficulties in getting the Railway through the devastating impacts of the Covid pandemic. We’ve proved ourselves capable of more than we’d ever thought and this award acknowledges that achievement.”
“We’ve shown bravery, agility, resourcefulness and sheer determination,” added Mike Ball. “We’ve overcome each and every difficulty that’s been thrown at us. Huge congratulations to our more-than-1,600 volunteers who, along with members of paid staff, have shown the Severn Valley Railway’s true resilience and innovation.”
In an earlier stage of the competition, the SVR won the county-level Visit Worcestershire award for Resilience and Innovation. The judges then were impressed by the improvements the SVR made in its virtual experience, digital PR, collaborations, wider tourism support and business diversification, calling the organisation ‘an inspiration to others’. They also highlighted the railway’s apprenticeship scheme.
The railway is currently running five days a week, from Wednesday to Sunday, and will begin exciting Summer of Sport-themed days out for visitors over the school holiday, starting on Saturday 23rd July, when the SVR’s now-famous purple locomotive, No. 70 ‘Elizabeth II’ will host a section of the Queen’s Baton Relay in the final build-up to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Tickets are available at svr.co.uk.