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News: Regional Accolade For Fleetwood Museum

Tuesday, 9th March 2004
(PR 1159)

A grandfather-of-eight who raised thousands of pounds for charity has been honoured for his work at Fleetwood Museum.

Alan Sutherland won a place in the final heats of the "Lancashire Excellence in Tourism Skills" Awards.

The 59-year-old, who has worked for Lancashire County Council as Custodian of Fleetwood Museum for three years, was nominated for the "Excellence in Customer Care" category.

His boss, Simon Hayhow, who is site manager of the museum, only surprised Alan with news of the nomination once he had been included in the final heats.

Alan, who is from Bolton originally, moved to Fleetwood following a 20-year career spent in the Midlands as manager of a television business and finance company.

He claims the job at the museum "has been waiting for him all his life" and enjoys meeting so many different visitors from all over the world.

Last year Alan joined Simon and another colleague from Lancashire County Museums Service to walk 110-miles in just seven days visiting museums to raise almost £5,500 for the Sick Children's Trust.

Alan's family received plenty of support from the national charity when his eight-year-old grandson Kyle needed an emergency liver transplant.

Kyle, who is now aged nine, has made a full recovery following the operation which was carried out at St James Hospital in Leeds.

Alan is planning more madcap fundraising events for the charity later this year.

He was thrilled to be nominated for the tourism award and despite not winning, enjoyed the glittering prize evening which was held at Ewood Park in Blackburn.

"I had a superb night and didn't feel sad about not winning first prize as it was such a great surprise to have even been nominated.

"I'm happiest dealing with the public and love meeting so many different people from all over the world, but I'm keen to try and encourage as many locals to visit the museum as well.

"People only tend to visit museums when they're on holiday and it's a shame that they sometimes forget what's on their doorstep."

Simon Hayhow said:

"Alan's standard of customer service is so good that we attract repeat visitors because he makes them feel welcome.

"He knows how to break the ice with people and has built up good relationships very quickly."

Notes for editors:

England's Northwest Tourism Skills Network began its work in September 2000 and is funded by the NWDA until 2005. It aims to address the skills and employment issues facing the tourism industry in the North West and is the first regional initiative of its type in the UK.

The awards evening was the first time individuals working in tourism have been recognised for their achievements.

For further information please contact: Jane Bullock on 01772 533521