A PASSIONATE supporter of the attractions of East Lancashire is bidding to be named the nation’s ‘tourism superstar’.

Simon Entwistle was nominated to be Visit England’s superstar by Marketing Lancashire for his role as ghost guide and supernatural story-teller at Samlesbury Hall.

Simon also runs tours of Towneley Hall and Pendle Hill, as well as tourism walks around Blackburn, Darwen and Colne.

He has helped make Pendle Hill and the Ribble Valley stop offs for coach parties from the Far East.

Simon has been delighting visitors to the county for more than 10 years with dramatic and chilling tales of the county’s turbulent past.

He is pitted against competition from nine other ‘tourism champions’ from some of the country’s leading attractions. Among them are tour guides Colleen Davanney and Wayne Grimston, from the Jorvik Viking Centre in York and Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire respectively.

Other nominees represent Exbury Gardens in the New Forest, the National Maritime Museum in Cornwall, Durham’s Beamish Museum and the Museum of London Docklands in London.

Visit England said the accolade’s announcement would mark English Tourism Week in March.

Calling on East Lancashire residents to support him in taking the title, Simon said: “Obviously I am up against some very good opposition, but I love East Lancashire and am proud to have been not only born here but to promote the area to thousands of tourists each year. It is an honour to have got this far.”

Ruth Connor, of Marketing Lancashire, said: “Simon is one of those wonderfully enthusiastic people who has helped build Lancashire’s image as a place that exudes history, charm and warmth – very much like Simon himself.”

Today, Simon is in London to film a short film promoting his nomination.Films of all the nominees will shortly be on www.mirroronline.co.uk where people will be able to vote for Simon.