Exmouth's 'unsung hero' wins posthumous award

Ian, Philippa and Jake Stuart, during one of their Exeter Canal Cruises

Ian, Philippa and Jake Stuart, during one of their Exeter Canal Cruises - Credit: Stuart Line Cruises

The family and former colleagues of the late Ian Stuart have expressed their delight at his posthumous recognition as an ‘unsung hero’. 

Devon’s finest tourism businesses gathered together for the highly anticipated virtual Devon Tourism Awards Ceremony, sponsored by Visit Devon.  

Visitor attractions, accommodation providers and individuals were showcased and praised for their outstanding achievements throughout what has been an incredibly challenging year for the industry. 

Ian Stuart, who of whose family founded Stuart Line Cruises, posthumously received an award as ‘unsung hero’. 

Ian Stuart has received a posthumous award as an 'unsung hero'

Ian Stuart has received a posthumous award as an 'unsung hero' - Credit: Stuart Line Cruises

Emotional tributes were paid to Ian, in recognition of his exceptional achievements as one of the South West’s tourism business leaders throughout his life and he was praised for being a truly remarkable friend and colleague. 

Upon receiving this award, Ian’s wife, Philippa, said: “This award will mean so much to Ian’s family, colleagues and loyal passengers.  

“We would also like to thank Anne Blackham of Devon’s Top Attractions, who nominated Ian for this award. Anne has always been a great friend and colleague to Ian, attending numerous trade shows and working together, especially within the Group Travel Market.” 

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Anne Blackham, of Devon’s Top Attractions, said: “It’s hard to put into words how amazing Ian was. He showed such incredible support for Devon tourism and his determination for the county to thrive as one of England’s leading destinations, was undeniable.  

“Not only was Ian a brilliant businessman and a credit to Devon, but he was also a kind, funny and generous character with whom I adored working.” 

The host of the event, Robin Barker of Quality in Tourism, summarised several other comments from attendees and former colleagues. 

He said: “I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Ian on several occasions.  

“It is clear that he was a very popular man who had great influence on tourism in Devon and the ways in which it has evolved over the past 50 years. He was a great man, and his achievements were nothing but admirable.” 

The family and colleagues associated with Stuart Line Cruises would like to thank the organisers for hosting such a professional and fun event, as well as the award category sponsor, Quality in Tourism.