King Harold Day gets East of England Regional Tourism Award Certificate from Olympic Canoeist, David Florence

Well, King Harold Day won Best Event in Essex, but was not quite successful when we went forward to the East of England Region, (the six counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire  –  so lots of tourism gems in those).   There we made it to the final three, which is in itself a triumph.   We were runner up to the spectacular Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre, a huge, three-day event taking over the whole town centre and with non-stop entertainment.  We felt that we lost to something which really deserved to win.  And we did get a very nice certificate!                           

Olympic Canoeist, David Florence, presents East of England Regional Tourism Award Runner Up Certificate to Tricia Gurnett and Kathryn Richmond


 Some of our friends have been kind enough to say that we have won  –  won in terms of putting King Harold Day, and even more importantly Waltham Abbey, on the map.   People in the Eastern Region now know what a great town we have and what a fantastic event KHD is. 

Chairman and Organizer of King Harold Day, Tricia Gurnett, and Town Clerk of Waltham Abbey, Kathryn Richmond, went to Ickworth West Wing in Suffolk for the Awards Ceremony and Dinner.   The Guest Speaker was David Florence, one of Britain’s top “paddlers” or White Water Canoeists, and Tricia and Kathryn grabbed the opportunity to have a really good talk with him and to tell him all about Waltham Abbey.    

David won a Silver Medal at the Beijing Olympics and hopes to be picked for the 2012 team.   As well as the single canoe slalom, (C1), he now competes in the doubles, (C2), and has recently defended his title as British Open Champion.  The race season has now ended and what he calls “hard winter training” will start.   David trains every day at Nottingham, which has been his base for some time. 

In early December, Lee Valley Regional Park will take over the new Olympic White Water Centre from the builders, and then David will move south to Essex and will be based at the Centre.   He tells us that he will be training there at least twice every day.   He also intends to move into the area to live. 

We hope he will enjoy being at the Centre, and that he will soon feel part of Waltham Abbey.   We are certainly keen to welcome him to our town.   Here’s the link to David’s website:-

Published in: on November 18, 2010 at 11:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

King Harold Day recognized as the Best Event in Essex

King Harold Day has become acknowledged as an important part of the annual Close up of Best Tourism Event awardcalendar in the town of Waltham Abbey, and now that has been recognized further as the medieval festival has won the Best Event award at the 2010 Essex Tourism Awards.

The award was announced last Thursday evening at the Essex Tourism Awards Dinner, held at acclaimed restaurant, Le Talbooth, at Dedham in North Essex. 

King Harold Day had already been shortlisted into the final three for the Best Event or Festival Award, and at the Awards Ceremony Tricia Gurnett, Chairman and Organizer of King Harold Day, received the trophy from Digipix, its sponsor.  Tricia was accompanied to the dinner by Tony O’Connor, Curator of Epping Forest District Museum and a member of the King Harold Day Committee, and Kathryn Richmond, Town Clerk of Waltham Abbey. 

Now King Harold Day goes forward to the 2010 East of England Regional Enjoy England Awards for Excellence, having been chosen as a finalist there, which will be held at Ickworth in November.   

Tricia Gurnett said:-  “We are quite overwhelmed and honoured to have been chosen as the Best Event in Essex.  King Harold Day was thought up eight years ago by a few friends in Waltham Abbey who wanted to increase recognition of the town’s heritage, and particularly that King Harold was Lord of the Manor of Waltham.  We felt his place in history as the last Saxon King of England should be promoted.    In its first year the event had 3,000 visitors.   Now that has increased to 6,000 and our visitors come from many different parts of the country.  

“I’m sure that what helped us to win the award is that, in addition to putting on a really great event, we have built up strong links with other places in the Harold story:  Fulford, Stamford Bridge and Hastings in England and Bayeux and Falaise in Normandy, and we obtained Heritage Lottery funding to provide the interpretation boards around the Abbey and Abbey Gardens, which have very much improved tourists’ appreciation of the history of the site.

“The regional awards will cover the whole of East Anglia, which will mean we shall be up against places like Cambridge and Norwich with all their tourism attractions.  The awards criteria suggest places should have a footfall of about 20,000 at events so we have some way to go before we reach that, but you never know!   

“I want to thank our small committee of eight who make King Harold Day happen, all the other friends who help us on the day, and Lee Valley Regional Park, Waltham Abbey Town Council, Epping Forest District Museum and Waltham Abbey Church, all of whom have been involved from the start and have given us tremendous support during the last eight years.   Finally, of course, we thank all our visitors who have made the event what it is today   –   the best in Essex.   Come and see us at this year’s King Harold Day on Saturday 16th October in the Abbey Gardens.”

Published in: on September 27, 2010 at 8:44 pm  Leave a Comment