Shropshire’s Victorian ‘policeman’ in the line-up for national tourism award

A Victorian singing policeman is in the frame to be top of the cops after being named as one of 10 finalists in with a chance of winning Visit England’s annual Tourism Superstar competition, supported by The Mirror, and he needs your vote. 

Guy Rowland, the Victorian ‘policeman’, at Blists Hill
Guy Rowland, the Victorian ‘policeman’, at Blists Hill

The ‘police constable’ Guy Rowland certainly fits the bill for the award and has been nominated by the tourist board for the area, Discover Shropshire & Telford, which aims to grow tourism in the region over the next 10 years.

While in the ‘line of duty’, Guy takes over 250,000 people each year way back to the 1900s at the renowned tourist destination Blists Hill Victorian Town in Ironbridge, playing a number of roles including school teacher, drunken soldier and priest but, most popularly, the policeman. He is also famed for playing songs on the piano and singing a merry tune at the attraction’s The New Inn Pub.

The VisitEngland Tourism Superstar awards recognise unsung heroes who go above and beyond to ensure visitors in their area have an unforgettable experience.

Discover Shropshire & Telford are now preparing for the People’s Vote and have called on the nation to ‘Vote for Guy’ and make him England’s Tourism Superstar.   

Voting begins on Saturday, March 7, at 9am and you can submit yours via The Mirror website mirror.co.uk/travel/uk-ireland/vote-now-your-staycation-holiday-21538261

Guy has been the Victorian town’s bobby for over 21 years and can be seen patrolling the streets Blists Hill on his bicycle, making unforgettable memories for international and national visitors across all ages and generations who come back year after year. 

He will chat about the ‘olden days’, ‘apprehend’ misbehaving youngsters and will greet every staff member by their full name.

As well as being popular with groups, schools and grandparents, Guy is also brilliant with those visitors with learning difficulties and who need dementia care.

Carolyn Healy, Cabinet Member for Visitor Economy & World Heritage for Telford & Wrekin Council said: “To be in the finals for Tourism Superstar 2020 is testament to the incredible work that Guy Rowland does and the clear fact that we deliver an unforgettable visitors experience for visitors travelling here from across the UK and the world.  

“Guy is a tribute to our destination and all our tourism heroes here that deliver unforgettable visitors experiences for our customers. To be part of this national competition is a point of great pride for us all.  

“The awards come on the back of a really challenging time for Telford and Shropshire, especially in the historic towns of Ironbridge Gorge and Shrewsbury. While the focus nationally has been on flooding, this announcement provides an important reminder of what an amazing destination we have here and how important visitors and the visitor economy is to us.”

Nick Ralls, Chief Executive of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums, one of the largest independent museums in the country and home to Blists Hill Victorian Town, said: “This is a moment of celebration for the museums and recognition of the power of people in articulating the world famous story of our amazing destination.  

“Guy Rowland has worked in the Ironbridge Gorge UNESCO World Heritage Site for over 21 years and for many is as much of a landmark memory as the bridge is, and we would encourage people to vote for him and help him get the recognition he deserves. 

“This is a bright moment for us, in what has been a challenging time with flooding. Two of our 10 museums were flooded, but thanks to the hard work of staff and volunteers a recovery plan is underway to get them back up and running as soon as possible.

“Eight of the other museums, including Blists Hill, were unaffected by the floods and are still open and we’d like to encourage visitors to come along and support the museums and of course see our superstar Guy.”

The winner of the People’s Vote will be announced on April 25 during English Tourism Week, a week which showcases the quality, range and value of English tourism and raises awareness of the enormous contribution it makes to the UK economy. 

Shropshire Live
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