New Blue Badge Guides for the region
On Tuesday 14th September 2021, at a glittering evening ceremony, in the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress of Durham, a group of newly-qualified ‘Blue Badge Tourist Guides’ for North East England were awarded their badges and certificates in the historic surroundings of the Great Hall of Durham Town Hall.
Having studied since 2019, a group of 14 people from all walks of life were awarded the prestigious ‘North East England Blue Badge’, the UK’s official tourist guiding qualification for the North East region. The awards were presented by Carole Hiley, the President of the Institute of Tourist Guiding in the presence of The Mayor & Mayoress of Durham Cllr Arnie Simpson and Mrs June Simpson. The Blue Badge is recognised by the UK Government and by the international travel trade as being the ‘Gold Star’ in tourist guiding.
This is the first such course to be run-in North East England since 2008. It involved in-depth study of the culture, history, geography and visitor attractions of the North East England region, together with a variety of national subjects of interest to visitors such as history, geography, architecture, agriculture, history, literature, music and more.
“The course programme should have lasted one year but, because of the Covid Pandemic, actually lasted two”, said Course Director David Waite. “The students have studied the whole North East England region (Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Teesside, County Durham) which includes a major National Park, miles of heritage coastline, Roman, religious, maritime, railway and Arts heritage, a major Cruise ship port, significant retail experiences, two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a UNESCO Geopark. They are now qualified to inform and entertain visitors from within the UK and around the world”
In his congratulatory speech, Mayor of Durham, Councillor Arnie Simpson said “he was especially delighted that the City of Durham had been included as one of the focal points of the training. The city’s history stretches from the earliest arrival of St Cuthbert, through the Norman building of the Cathedral and the time of the Prince Bishops, to the creation of the University, and today’s modern facilities, all of which has contributed to the modern, vibrant city that we have today. We support our local community, whilst welcoming visitors from all over the world. This evening we are celebrating the success of a group of new, professionally qualified Blue Badge Tourist Guides who will provide the very best experiences for visitors to the city, the wider County Durham and the whole of the North East”
The students’ skills and knowledge were examined on a guided walking tour, a coach tour, in Durham cathedral and in the Great North Museum: Hancock. They have taken written examinations about North East England as well as national exam papers to achieve the coveted and respected “Blue Badge” awarded by the Institute of Tourist Guiding. The Institute President was joined by The Right Worshipful The Mayor of Durham in presenting the awards. Once all the students have qualified, there will be new North East England tourist guides qualified to work in English, Spanish and German.
Find out more about the Blue Badge Guides, and to book a tour.
Photo 1 Newly qualified Blue Badge Tourist Guides for North East England
All photo credits- Chris Parker Photography
Published: 13, October, 2021