Celebrations are taking place at Whitchurch Silk Mill today, having picked up GOLD, SILVER & BRONZE Awards at Visit South East England's prestigious Beautiful South Tourism Awards. Sue Tapliss, Marie Colgrave and Freya Gulliver collected the awards during a ceremony at The Grand Brighton, Brighton earlier this week.
The Awards celebrate the cream of the crop with finalists representing tourism, leisure and hospitality businesses. The Silk Mill fought off stiff competition from attractions across South East England to win these awards. Marie Colgrave, Welcome Building Supervisor at the Mill won GOLD in the Unsung Hero category for her kindness, initiative for income generation, and willingness and determination during the pandemic.
"Marie's commitment to the Mill, especially her willingness to get stuck in and flexibility during covid, is recognised by all the team and regular visitors to the Riverside Café", said Operation Manager, Jess Bone, who nominated Marie. Her initiative for income generation and wrangling of injured wildfowl aren't the only reasons she was nominated! "Marie's kindness with visitors, especially more vulnerable customers, shines throughout our local community."
The Team also picked up two more trophies at the ceremony at The Grand Hotel in Brighton; SILVER for the Riverside Cafe in Best Café and Tearoom of the Year, and BRONZE for the Mill in Small Attraction of the Year.
During a period when visitor numbers have dropped across the tourism and heritage industry due to the economic climate, winning this award is a huge boost for the charity and recognises the hard work both staff and volunteers have put in to make the Mill an outstanding visitor attraction.
Whitchurch Silk Mill, a living museum preserving traditional craft, brings to life the story of silk weaving in Hampshire through captivating museum interpretation and the opportunity to witness the silk textile-making process in person.
The Riverside Café, situated banks of the gin-clear River Test, offers a seasonal menu of delicious sweet treats, snacks and light lunches. Housed in one of the Mill's old weaving sheds with views of the Georgian mill building and down the SSSI-protected River Test, the café has become a community hub in Whitchurch frequented by groups of cyclists and local families weekly, as well as Mill visitors.
Highlights from their warming winter menu include pies bursting with filling, smoked River Test trout pate and locally baked cakes. With gluten-free and Vegan options and offerings for children, there's something for everyone! 80% of the food and drink served in the café comes from the best local producers Hampshire has to offer and supporting local suppliers in this way has allowed them to join Hampshire Fare, a community interest company that champions local produce.
This award is the latest of many this year for the Mill, including VisitEngland's Visitor Attraction Award for Best Told Story, Institute of mechanical engineers heritage award, and shortlisted café of the year museums + heritage awards.
Image: Awards & frost at the Grade Two* Listed Silk Mill and working museum