And the winner is... Gareth Southgate was made an Honorary Yorkshireman and the best of Yorkshire scored high at the White Rose Awards, the UK’s largest tourism celebration. Alice Bailey looks at some of the winning businesses who attract millions of visitors every year to the county. orkshire has been fertile ground for writers for centuries, from the enduring talent of the globally lauded Brontë sisters to the powerful works of former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and the razor sharp observational wit of Leeds playwright Alan Bennett. So, while every finalist at this year’s White Rose Awards impressed the judges, perhaps it’s no surprise there were a number of strong connections amongst the winners to literature and the spoken word. The county has had more to celebrate than ever over the last 12 months. Yorkshire experienced a record-breaking number of international visits during the first half of 2018 and the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth was just one of the attractions reporting a rise in people coming from overseas.
The Bradford district has long been a hub for literature, diversity and culture, from the Brontë’s themselves to J.B. Priestley and Andrea Dunbar, plus newer talent like A A Dhand and Fiona Mozley. All these writers have featured in the Bradford Literature Festival - winner of the 2018 Tourism Event of the Year Award. A literary extravaganza celebrating the written and spoken word, it’s grown from two days and 25 events to 10 days and 300 events, in just three years. The judges described this as a phenomenal achievement and called the event one of the most inspiring in the UK. With more than 50,000 people visiting, of all ages and diverse backgrounds, it’s a cultural pearl for Bradford which the whole of Yorkshire can be incredibly proud of. In South Yorkshire the county’s literary heritage is inspiring a new generation. The 2018 Small Attraction of the Year Award winner Grimm & Co, uses the power of writing and storytelling to entertain and inspire; its strap line is “changing lives one story at a time”. This unique attraction would not look out of place on Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, with a secret door and children’s only writing room. The judges
described it as “a magical world in the heart of Rotherham that helps children reconnect with the awe and wonder of their imaginations by building their writing skills and confidence. In an instant, digital age, children get the chance to truly engage with traditional storytelling and the joy of seeing their own story printed in book form at the end.” With Yorkshire writers Barry Hines (A Kestrel for a Knave) and Joanne Harris (Chocolat) both trustees of the charity which runs it, it’s only to be expected that this is a wonderful addition to Yorkshire’s tourism offer and brings so much more than just a great day out. This year’s Arts and Culture Award was won by the recently renamed Leeds Playhouse, the judges commenting on how it had “grown and delighted audiences of all ages for almost five decades”. One