On Tuesday 14th September 2021, in an evening ceremony, a group of newly-qualified ‘Blue Badge Tourist Guides’ for North East England will receive their badges and certificates in the historic surroundings of the Great Hall of Durham Town Hall.
The group of 23 people from all walks of life studied for more than a year to gain the prestigious “North East England Blue Badge”, the UK’s official tourist guiding qualification for the North East region, which is awarded by the Institute of Tourist Guiding. The award 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 has involved in-depth study of the culture, history, geography and visitor attractions of the North East region, together with a variety of national subjects of interest to visitors such as history, geography, architecture, agriculture, history, literature, music and more.
“Whilst it is important, there’s much more to being an effective tourist guide than just knowing about history” said Programme Director David Waite. “The students have worked really hard learning about the culture, sights and wealth of visitor attractions in North East England so that they can inform and entertain visitors from within the UK and around the world”
Their skills and knowledge have been 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 the North East as well as national papers to achieve the coveted and respected “Blue Badge” awarded by the Institute of Tourist Guiding. The Institute President will be joined by The Right Worshipful The Mayor of Durham in presenting the awards. There are now new North East England tourist guides qualified to work in English, Spanish and German.
Notes to editors:
The Blue Badge is the highest official qualification for tourist guides in the UK and is one of the most respected tourism qualifications in the world.
Situated on the borders of Yorkshire, Cumbria and Scotland, the North East region included in the training programme comprises the varied terrain from coast to high moorland, cities and villages within County Durham, Northumberland, Teesside and Tyne and Wear. It includes a major National Park, heritage coastline, significant Roman, religious, maritime, railway and Arts heritage, a major Cruise ship port, significant retail experiences, together with two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a UNESCO Geopark.
Guests of honour at the award ceremony will be The Mayor of Durham, the President of the Institute of Tourist Guiding and the Chair of the British Guild of Tourist Guides.
Durham Town Hall is a Grade II* listed building commissioned by Bishop John Cosin in 1665 as a Guildhall and extended in 1752, and again in 1851 to create the Town Hall, within which is The Great Hall, richly panelled with a hammerbeam roof and walls lined with wooden plaques commemorating some of the freemen of the City of Durham. It has been open to public viewing since November 2018, and includes a case displaying some of the belongings of Józef Boruwłaski, a court dwarf known as "the Little Count", who retired to Durham in 1790 after performing at the grandest Royal courts of Europe. It also contains the original city charter, the city's civic sword and the pikes of the mayor's personal bodyguard. The historic and atmospheric Town Hall is used for corporate events and conferences, team meetings, receptions, dances, performances, society dinners and more.
For more information on Blue Badge Training and the awards ceremony email the Course Directors at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone Joint Director and Administrator Laura Rhodes on 07758 077818 or Course Director David Waite on 07788 581539