TWO tourism businesses in Lyme Regis and Uplyme have scooped top accolades at the Tourism Excellence Awards.

Lyme Regis tourist information centre and Tara Dare from Hedgehog Corner B&B in Uplyme were both announced as winners at last Friday’s awards ceremony at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

The South West Tourism Excellence Awards celebrate the ‘best in the West’ and aim to recognise the leading businesses and individuals in the tourism industry.

Staff at the tourist information centre were told in December that they have been chosen as one of the winners in the Tourist Information Service of the Year Category.

At the awards ceremony they were told they had won a bronze award.

Manager Lorraine Knowles who collected the award with TIC assistant Zoe Jones said they were delighted and very proud to have won.

“It takes a lot to get into the finals and to get an award is fantastic,” she added.

“It is nice to know that what you are doing is appreciated and this will let us tackle this season with even more enthusiasm.”

Tara Dare, manager of Hedgehog Corner, was recognised for her exceptional service to guests as she won a silver Outstanding Customer Service Award.

Tara, who has been employed at Hedgehog Corner since leaving Exeter College, said: “It’s amazing to think that my natural approach and attitude towards the business, the hospitality industry and most importantly our guests has been recognised with such a personal and prestigious award.

“I am absolutely thrilled.”

They were among the 61 different awards announced following a rigorous judging process in which over 300 entries were considered.

This year’s awards event was hosted by BBC radio journalist Daphne Skinnard, with presentations made by Eden Project founder Sir Tim Smit and entertainer Lloyd Griffith.

Up to four award winners from each category will all now go on to represent the region at the National Enjoy England Awards for Excellence in May.

Chairman of the judges Alistair Handyside said: “Once again, leading tourism businesses in the South West have excelled themselves in maintaining a strong tradition of innovation and quality.

“Most will now go on to represent both themselves and our region at the Visit England national tourism awards and we wish them all the very best.”