A Cumbrian fisherman who guides thousands of people across the UK’s largest expanse of intertidal mudflats and sand every year has been nominated for one of the tourism industry’s top national awards.
Michael Wilson – the Official King’s Guide to the Kent Estuary, Morecambe Bay – has today been revealed as one of ten finalists in VisitEngland’s highly prized Tourism Superstar Award. The annual accolade celebrates those who go the extra mile to ensure visitors have an amazing and unforgettable experience.
The Tourism Superstar Award is run in partnership with The Mirror newspaper and the winner will be decided by the public. Vote For Michael HERE
The nomination follows his win in the ‘Unsung Hero’ category at the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2022.
Michael is a local fisherman and has spent many years on the Morecambe Bay sands with his father, grandfather and great grandfather. He took on the role as guide in 2017 and carefully navigates the sands on selected bay walk weekends, when the water is safely at low tide.
Supported by his partner Joanne and a team of 30 volunteer marshals, he offers a unique experience and raises huge sums of money for many life-saving charities from across the UK. In 2022, Michael welcomed many charities who had never done the walk before, guiding more than 9,620 walkers from Arnside to Grange. This raised £632,000 for 43 different charities. Michael also guided 46 horses from Flookburgh to Sandgate for a unique bay ride experience.
Michael says, “It’s so rewarding to be nominated for this award. It really does make all our hard work worthwhile. The Bay walks are a huge fundraising event, and my partner Joanne and I feel privileged to be helping so many charities.
“We love what we do and to be able to change so many lives, there are simply no words for our appreciation. We’d like to thank everyone for supporting us. It’s because of our supporters we are where we are today!”
Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “We’re immensely proud to see Michael nominated as a national Tourism Superstar, following his ‘Unsung Hero’ trophy at the Cumbria Tourism Awards last summer.
“Make no mistake, it takes a huge amount of knowledge and experience to guide thousands of people across the Morecambe Bay sands and it’s fantastic that the walkers can chat to Michael and learn about the stories, history and wildlife of the Bay along the way.
“He does so much for charity and makes a significant contribution to the visitor economy, enabling many people to visit under expert guidance. He is a worthy ambassador not just for Cumbria, but the wider North West and I hope people will get voting!”
Voting runs until Monday 20 March and you can Vote For Michael HERE.
The winner will be announced the following Saturday, during English Tourism Week. They will then be invited to receive their award at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence this June.