York’s Unsung Hero wins at national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence

Adam Wardale, General Manager at Middletons Hotel in York, won the Unsung Hero award at the tourism industry’s annual national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in Birmingham.

Following Adam’s win for Unsung Hero at this year’s Visit York Tourism Awards in March, he was put forward for consideration in the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence and was shortlisted as a finalist alongside Neeshal Jeewon and Clive Goodwin.  

The Unsung Hero Award is a new award for 2022, which recognises an individual working for a tourism business who excels in their role and deserves to be applauded for their work and commitment to the industry. Upon winning the Visit York Tourism Award in March, judges commented that “Adam Wardale at Middletons is a very deserving winner. As well as being instrumental in transforming the hotel into a luxury destination, he has undertaken a number of initiatives to benefit the community such as his work with local prisoners. He is inspiring and a credit to York.” 

Adam celebrated his win at the national awards ceremony last night, 8 June, at the Library of Birmingham, where Gold, Silver and Bronze winners were announced by broadcaster and author Clare Balding.  

The prestigious VisitEngland Awards for Excellence have been running for more than 30 years, celebrating and championing innovation, quality and best practice across the industry recognising businesses and individuals who raise the bar of England’s tourism offer. 

The full list of winners for the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence can be found here.  

Adam Wardale, General Manager at Middletons Hotel and winner of the Unsung Hero Award, said: “It was both an honour and a privilege to be nominated, yet alone to win, the prestigious Unsung Hero Award at both the Visit York and VisitEngland awards. On both a professional and personal level, I am incredibly proud to have been able to represent Middletons Hotel and York – a wonderful city that has such as diverse tourism offering. Over the past few years, the Middletons’ team has worked incredibly hard to develop the hotel and offer guests a first-class experience. We’re also extremely proud to be able to give back to the York community by forging strong partnerships with local institutions such as HMP Askham Grange women’s prison. This has always been a personal passion of mine and I’m determined that we will continue to support local schools, colleges and universities to promote and champion hospitality as a viable career.” 

Sarah Loftus, Managing Director at Make It York, said: “A huge congratulations to Adam for his well-deserved win at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence! We’re incredibly grateful for all the hard work that Adam has put into our city and for always going above and beyond, both for our visitors and in our communities. A huge congratulations again to Adam and we’re so proud that he’s brought this national accolade home to York.” 

Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “Our superb tourism businesses offer something for everyone and the sector is one we can be proud of. It is fantastic to see so many hardworking businesses of all sizes recognised for their gold-standard contribution to English tourism and I congratulate all the winners.” 

Nick de Bois, Advisory Board Chair at VisitEngland, said: “It is wonderful to see the Awards event back in-person, giving us the opportunity to come together, celebrate and congratulate the best-of-the-best across England’s world-class tourism industry. 

“From an accessible and inclusive sailing school to a family run rural glamping site and an immersive living museum, these awards highlight the outstanding quality, the innovation and the customer service excellence across our industry. All these businesses are winners in every sense. 

“Millions of jobs and local economies depend on tourism and this year’s awards also highlight the dedication of tourism businesses as they rebuild, championing best practice and providing visitors with first-class experiences.” 


For further information please contact:  

Sarah Foster, Communications Manager at Make It York 

Email: comms@makeityork.com 

Notes to editors: 

  • This year’s national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence aligned with 14 local competitions, which ran across England, with winners automatically entered into the national awards. 
  • For more information about the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence – see www.VisitEnglandAwards.org 
  • The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence has been accredited with the Awards Trust Mark. The Awards Trust Mark scheme, run by The Independent Awards Standards Council, enhances trust between those entering awards schemes, and the organisations running them. For more information about the Awards Trust Mark see – https://awardstrustmark.org/ 
  • TXGB (Tourism Exchange Great Britain) is a business to business platform connecting tourism suppliers to a diverse range of domestic and international distributors. 
  • For images of the individual VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2022 winners contact Thomas.Clues@visitbritain.org 

About Make It York 

Make It York  

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business.  The company’s remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, Shambles Market and festivals and events. 

Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand.

Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York. 

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