Yorkshire's thriving tourism industry comes together in Leeds to celebrate success

Legendary cricketer Ryan Sidebottom was named a Yorkshire Patron. Picture: Simon Hulme
Legendary cricketer Ryan Sidebottom was named a Yorkshire Patron. Picture: Simon Hulme

Leading lights from Yorkshire’s thriving tourism industry rubbed shoulders with VIP guests when the White Rose Awards were held at the First Direct Arena in Leeds last night.

More than 1,000 people attended Welcome to Yorkshire’s Big Night Out, which saw 17 businesses and organisations collect trophies in recognition of their contributions.

Guests were wowed by performances from the Yorkshire Regiment Band, dancers Glo-men, aerial acrobats Urban Angels and soprano schoolgirl Emmie Beckett.

And the region’s sporting heroes were out in force as they celebrated successes on the rugby pitch and in the ring.

Players from Leeds Rhinos, Castleford Tigers, Hull FC and the Bradford Bulls’ women were joined by Leeds boxing champion Josh Warrington.

But it was legendary cricketer Ryan Sidebottom who received the greatest acclaim as he was made a Yorkshire Patron.

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of awards organisers Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The White Rose Awards are a great opportunity for us all to celebrate the wonderful Yorkshire businesses who work so hard to make this county a world-class visitor destination.

“Without the amazing efforts of these businesses, Yorkshire wouldn’t be the success it is – it really is a group effort that goes in to making the county a destination that people want to visit again and again.”

Professor Colin Mellors, who chaired the independent judging panel, said: “To be shortlisted and win a White Rose Award really is recognition that these businesses have worked extremely hard to reach a very high level of service, so it’s right that we celebrate these efforts.”