George and Dragon winners of 2013 Cumbria Tourism Taste Award

The winners of the 11th Cumbria Tourism Awards were announced at a glittering ceremony at Rheged, Penrith, on Tuesday 11th June 2013, with Eden businesses including the George and Dragon, who won the Taste Award for a second time, taking four of the top awards.

Hundreds of tourism professionals, representing businesses from around the county, gathered to hear multi-award winning broadcaster, journalist and author Jon Gaunt announce the winners. The evening’s MC ”Gaunty” is a regular press reviewer for Sky News, appears on programs such as Vanessa, Newsnight, The Daily Politics, Question Time and Countdown and is a regular contributor on the Jeremy Vine radio show and numerous BBC Five Live programs.

The annual awards are open to a range of tourism related businesses, with 13 categories in all. A new category was added this year in recognition of the role the area’s publicans play in the visitor economy – Tourism Pub of the Year. Each category winner received a certificate and a specially commissioned engraved award, hand-crafted by talented artist Penni Simpson, of Fusion Glass Art, Cartmel.

Mr Gaunt focussed on what makes outstanding accommodation providers excel. He said: ”It’s the warmth of customer service, excellence and innovation right through a business that makes it stand out.”

The local winners now go forward to the national competition – the Visit England Awards for Excellence, in 2014, in which the George and Dragon have both been runners up before.

At the George and Dragon, manager Chris Curry said the award was a reflection of the dedication and hard work of all the team. He said ”We are absolutely delighted to be the recipients of this award. We won the same award in 2011 and you aren’t allowed to enter two years in a row, so it is fantastic that we have won again.”.

As well as Chris, the George and Dragon was represented by owners Charles Lowther and his mother Lady Lonsdale, and head chef Ian Jackson. The Taste Cumbria Awards was sponsored by Total Gas & Power.

Extract from The Cumberland and Westmorland Herald, Saturday 15th June, 2013.