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PHOTOS: The REYTA tourism awards

Businesses from Driffield and the Wolds stole the show and put the area firmly in the spotlight during a successful evening at Hull and East Yorkshire’s tourism Oscars.

Seven of the categories came back from Bridlington Spa to the Wolds Weekly patch as the Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards, or REYTAs, returned in person for the first time since 2019, with 500 people in attendance.

More than a dozen tourism businesses from across Driffield and its surrounding villages were among the 73 finalists to be nominated, showcasing the best individuals, attractions and hospitality settings.

The evening’s major success story was Driffield boutique hotel, restaurant and events venue The Highfield House.

A large Highfield contingent were in the Spa’s Royal Hall to receive two REYTAs – Remarkable Tourism Business of the Year and Remarkable Hotel of the Year – and they certainly celebrated in style once the news was announced.

Speaking to the Wolds Weekly after receiving the Tourism Business of the Year award, Andy Lampard, owner and director of Highfield House, could not hide his delight.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable,” he said. “It’s been a long journey in getting to this stage but it’s thanks to all the people involved that we have done so, not just Lindsey and I.

“Most of those are sat at our tables tonight but there are many more who have got us to the place that we have reached.

“We’re over the moon.”

And Andy was left speechless when the awards ceremony was rounded off with The Highfield House being named the Remarkable Hotel of the Year.

“Two awards – blimey O’Riley,” said Andy. “If I was overwhelmed with one, how can I describe two?

“It’s incredible. Again, I want to give credit to the team of people at Highfield. There is a huge crowd behind this award who are making every single part of the hotel work and it’s an intricate mechanism.

“Not one person leads it, it’s every single person, from the cleaners who are laundering the bedsheets to the chefs who are making the food.”

Other businesses from Driffield and the Wolds who received nominations and had representation on the evening were Mr Moo’s Yorkshire Dairy Ice Cream Parlour (Skipsea), Westfield House Leisure (Wold Newton), Kipling House Barn (Middleton-on-the-Wolds), The Paddock Pods at Homeland (Bewholme), Wold Rangers Way (Driffield), Retox Yoga & Mindfulness Retreats (Driffield), Soanes Poultry (Middleton-on-the-Wolds), The East Riding Rally Stages, Tribfest (Sledmere House), The Butcher’s Dog (Driffield) and The Old Star (Kilham).

Cllr Jane Evison, portfolio holder for economic investment, growth and tourism at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “The Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards are a celebration of all that is good about the industry locally and recognises the hard work, talent and dedication of those who work in this important industry.

“The awards continue to be a great opportunity to celebrate the vibrant and fantastic tourism offer in the region.

“Congratulations to all the winners and well done to all the finalists who made the shortlist.”

One of the most popular winners on the evening was Driffield vintage tearoom Molly & Jean.

Owner Simon Field received huge adulation from the audience when Molly & Jean’s name was read out by one of the blue-coated HEY! Volunteers.

“This is unbelievable,” said Simon. “I’m so, so proud of my team and what we mean to the community.

“It’s unexpected. Words cannot describe how I feel at the moment. The reaction from the room was unbelievable and someone said it was the best of the night.

“I’m thrilled and I am so glad we entered.”

Bainton’s Wolds Village was named as the Remarkable B&B and Guesthouse of the Year.

Owner Chris Brearley said he hopes the award is the start of a fruitful period for his business.

“It’s absolutely brilliant to win this award, especially after everything over the last two years during the pandemic,” said Chris.

“We’ve worked as hard as we can during this period, have come out of the other side and this is validation.

“We’ll use it as a springboard to go on and grow the business, working with VHEY.

“It shows us that we are doing all the right things and all the hard work has paid off.

“It’s a great thrill. I’ve attended every edition of REYTAs over the last 12 years and you get butterflies in your stomach.

“We’ve won twice previously and it’s a great feeling.”

Aike-based Laurel Vines Vineyard and Winery was recognised for its green ethos with the Remarkable Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award.

“This means everything,” said Rebekah Sargent, of Laurel Vines.

“We’re so glad that we made the effort to be sustainable and this is everything we have ever wanted.

“We’re chuffed, especially after all the hard work that has gone in to make the changes.

“We’re really passionate about it and really pleased to win the award.”

Following in the footsteps of The Highfield House, another Highfield was celebrating after impressing the judges.

Highgate Farm Guest Accommodation, just outside Driffield in Southburn, were recognised as highly commended in the Remarkable Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the year, an overwhelming result for representatives of the business.

“It means so much to us,” said Georgina Renfrew.

“Obviously, we didn’t win the main prize but that doesn’t matter.

“We’re so happy. It was a tough category to be in. We’ve all worked so hard over the last couple of years to get this completed.

“We’re all really touched. It’s been an amazing night.”

Picking up the Remarkable Self Catering Accommodation of the Year Award was a shocked Sarah Dean of Brandesburton-based, first-time RETYAs entrants Pasture House Holiday Cottages.

“We’re gobsmacked,” said Sarah. “It’s the first time we have entered and we couldn’t be happier.

“We’re a family business and this has been a long project that has come together.

“It’s really nice that everything has paid off. Hopefully we can come back another year and win again.”

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