A LONG-standing tourism champion has been made an honorary life member of the Ribble Valley Tourism Association.

Coun Joyce Holgate, who has represented Whalley on the borough council for 19 years, received the award at a special ceremony.

Coun Holgate, who has been a member of the association since its inception 23 years ago, was presented with the award by Ribble Valley Mayor, Coun Richard Sherras.

She said: “I’m very proud to have received this award and it’s something that I never expected.

“I firmly believe in tourism and its benefits and always have done.

“It employs a lot of people in and around the Ribble Valley and that’s very important.

“The Ribble Valley is a beautiful place to visit but not enough people know about it.

“It always seems to be voted ‘Britian’s Best Kept Secret’ but it doesn’t need to be a secret.

“The association does vital work that helps to promote the borough and get its name out there as much as possible.

“I had no idea that I was going to be presented with this award and it was quite a surprise.”

The Ribble Valley Tourism Association is run alongside the borough council and is made up of councillors, business owners and council officers.