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Ex-Tiller Girl’s bid for a ‘curtain call’

Sandy Griffiths (fourth from left) in the Roly Polys and (below) on Blackpool Promenade.

Sandy Griffiths (fourth from left) in the Roly Polys and (below) on Blackpool Promenade.

Blackpool tourism worker Sandy Griffiths has made the shortlist for a national award.

VisitEngland today announced the finalists in their Tourism Superstar 2014 Award and Sandy, who works at Blackpool’s Tourist Information Centre (TIC), is one of just 10 people across the country to have made the grade.

Sandy has worked in the TIC for the past 10 years but before this she had an extensive stage career which saw her first perform with The Blackpool Tower Children’s Ballet when she was 12.

Sandy went on to become a Tiller Girl at the Opera House, has performed throughout Blackpool and, in her 30s, she joined the famous Roly Polys – the dance troupe of the late comedian Les Dawson. Her 16 year stint with the Roly Polys saw Sandy dance on stage at the Royal Variety Show in 1987.

Today, Sandy, 63, is one of a team of five who act as the first point of call and represent Blackpool to the resort’s 13 million visitors every year.

Working in the TIC, Sandy deals with customers face to face, over the telephone and via email and, over six months last year, she and the team handled 69,000 face-to-face enquiries from members of the public.

She said: “I can’t believe I have made this shortlist because I’m just doing a job that I love. Blackpool is my home, I feel passionately about it and I want every visitor to have a great time when they are here.” In fact, many of the visitors to the TIC ask specifically to see Sandy because they know she will always go the extra mile for them and she is often seen chasing down the Promenade after customers if she has an extra nugget of information.

She added: “When people walk into the Tourist Information Centre they do so as visitors, when they leave, they go as friends. I am part of a great team and I think everyone I work with is a superstar as we all work hard to ensure every person who walks through the door gets the information and help they need to make their holiday or day out the best ever.”

Coun Graham Cain, Blackpool Council Cabinet Member for Tourism and Leisure, added: “I am delighted Sandy has made this shortlist. This is a real achievement in itself and I would urge everyone to vote for her.

“The staff at our Tourist Information Centre work incredibly hard handling enquiries for tens of thousands of people every year and are responsible for ensuring Blackpool’s visitors have a fantastic time while they are here. They are all superstars and this is truly deserved.”

The VisitEngland Tourism Superstar Award was launched two years ago as part of English Tourism Week, which this year running from March 29 to April 6.

The award recognises the dedication and passion of those working in the tourism industry, and is awarded to an individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty.

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