Birmingham tourism ambassador nominated for prestigious national superstar award - how to vote

A tourism ambassador for Birmingham has been nominated for a prestigious award with VisitEngland and she’s swimming with delight
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She brings a splash of wonder to Birmingham visitors as she shows off the city’s heritage from a unique perspective.

Lilly-Rose Sheppard is a paddlesport guide at the Roundhouse - the historic Grade II listed landmark which dates back to 1874 and was used as a stables and stores on the canal for Birmingham Corporation's Public Works Department.

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These days it operates as a visitor centre, with the National Trust and Canal & River Trust, offering tourists the opportunity to see the city through a different range of volunteer-powered guided tours.

Lily-Rose is one of ten finalists nominated for VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar competition who were chosen from dozens of submissions from employers at destinations across the country.

She encourages tourists to explore Birmingham through a bustling Kayak Tour that takes them into the heart of Britain’s waterways where they discover the city’s hidden heritage and see its landmarks from a different angle. They also learn about the history of Birmingham and its canals.

Lily-Rose overcame illnesses that included fibromyalgia and Covid to follow her passion to show off her city. Her previous experience as a performance has also put her in good stead when connecting with audiences.

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Her dedication to providing great experiences on the water led to the Roundhouse Birmingham creating a paid-role for Lily-Rose which has been rewarded through five-star reviews by visitors and guests.

Birmingham Roundhouse paddlesport guide Lily-Rose SheppardBirmingham Roundhouse paddlesport guide Lily-Rose Sheppard
Birmingham Roundhouse paddlesport guide Lily-Rose Sheppard

Lily-Rose has been nominated alongside Pete Chambers, the director and founder of The Coventry Music Museum which allows visitors to explore Coventry’s music heritage – from the 2-tone movement and Delia Derbyshire, who composed the famous Doctor Who theme tune, to the city’s time as the centre of the UK rave scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  

These nominations shed light on the West Midlands’ tourism offer, which has a range of notable events and dates to highlight throughout 2024 – including celebrations to mark world-famous, Birmingham-based chocolate brand Cadbury’s 200th anniversary.

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Anna Pickton, operations manager for Roundhouse Birmingham said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that Lily-Rose has made the final 10 for VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar competition.  “Lily-Rose is not only a skilled kayak guide, but a fount of Birmingham knowledge, sharing her passion for the city’s heritage and vibrant culture throughout her tours. 

“As a heritage charity about to celebrate the Roundhouse’s 150th anniversary in May, we are extremely proud to have Lily-Rose delivering a weekend of special tours and activities. Her friendliness, patience, positivity and love for sharing Birmingham’s history make her a real guest favourite.  

“Lily-Rose’s love of history and her knowledge of Birmingham’s canal network, coupled with the way she helps bring Birmingham’s rich history to life for all guests, makes her a great choice for the VisitEngland Tourism Superstar competition.”

 Andrew Lovett, chair of the West Midlands Tourism and Hospitality Advisory Board, said: “The West Midlands is known for its incredible welcome – and a lot of that is down to the knowledge, warmth and effort of the people working in our venues and establishments. 

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“Pete and Lily-Rose being shortlisted for the Tourism Superstar award exemplifies this. It is the efforts and support of our tourism representatives that make visits to the region welcoming and memorable, values we will continue to pursue throughout 2024. A big congratulations and good luck to both Pete and Lily-Rose in the competition.”  

How to vote for Roundhouse Kayak guide Lily-Rose Sheppard in the VisitEngland Tourism Superstar Awards

Voting closes at the end of English Tourism Week (ETW), which takes place from 15-24 March 2024. To vote for Lily-Rose, go to: VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar award Lily-Rose nomination

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