Category Archives: Headline News

The award winning Isle Of Wight Festival confirms 2017 dates

Following recent wins at the Live UK Music Awards for Best Festival (over 40,000) and Best Family Festival at the Family Traveller Awards, the Isle of Wight Festival have today announced that next year’s event will take place between 8-11th June 2017.

2016 marked the 15th anniversary of the Isle of Wight Festival since it was successfully relaunched in 2002. It has become one of the most exciting annual global music events of the summer with a proud heritage of show-stopping headliners, including, Foo Fighters, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Killers, Paul McCartney, Coldplay, Queen + Adam Lambert, The Who, Blur and Fleetwood Mac.

Tickets go onsale on Monday 7th November at 9am.

Maria Barham

PR Director

First Floor

1-11 Carteret Street

SW1H 9DJTel | 07956 211 788
Email |

Visit Isle of Wight Ghost Trail app re-appears!

A new collaboration with Paramount Pictures UK, sees Visit Isle of     Wight’s popular free to download Isle of Fright Ghost Trail app  (iOS/Android) re-launched this Autumn.

The app has been updated as part of promotions to celebrate the forthcoming ‘Rings’, a new chapter in the beloved RING horror franchise, written by David Loucka and Jacob Estes and Akiva Goldsman, directed by F. Javier Gutierrez.

The app returns with the popular features of spooky Isle of Wight tales and the fun ‘ghost bombing’ element that allows users to apply ghostly filters over their photos for sharing on social media.

In a twist on the thirteen ‘cold spots’ (Isle of Wight locations with paranormal associations), this year the app has been updated to include a competition to win ‘Rings’ merchandise from Paramount Pictures UK.

To enter the competition, app users are encouraged to physically travel to areas across the Isle of Wight and record their visits using the app to hidden ‘dark sites’. Users need to visit a certain number of dark sites to unlock entrance to the competition page. But beware the “witching hour” when creatures of the night are thought to appear and be at their most powerful!

Users of the app who are not on the Isle of Wight are able to listen to the audio of the ghost stories narrated by Isle of Wight spirit guide Marc Tuckey. They can also unlock entrance to the competition page via an in app quiz.

David Thornton CEO of Visit Isle of Wight says “I’m thrilled (literally) to see the Isle of Fright Ghost Trail app back in 2016. It offers a great opportunity for visitors to access different areas of the Island as well as being a creative, fun way of providing haunting holiday memories. By working with Paramount Pictures UK and our Isle of Wight partners, we’re able to showcase Paramount’s new movie alongside the Isle of Wight”.

The app will be available to download from mid-October through to the end of November 2016.


For further information, please contact Sue Emmerson, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd 01983 521555 (ext 29),

Notes to Editors

Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight. As well as the consumer website the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities
Our Wightpress site brings you all the latest news and views from the Isle of Wight:
Get social media updates from Visit Isle of Wight. Go to,,,,

Isle of Wight businesses involved in the development and creation of the app:
HomePage Media Ltd
Words and Stuff
Skinny Mammoth
Marc Tuckey

WIGHT BID ballot result press statement – Issued by Visit Isle of Wight

We are very pleased to announce that the required statutory mechanism to bring a business improvement district into operation on the Isle of Wight this September has been triggered by a YES vote.

The formation of the UK’s first County-wide BID gives the Isle of Wight a unified stronger voice in tourism at a local, regional and national level.   The WIGHT BID plan to attract new visitors and improve the destination through working together will be implemented from this September.

The YES vote was carried by a 63% vote by hereditament and 75% by rateable value of all those who voted. Therefore, all business categories listed in the WIGHT BID proposal will now be required to pay the equivalent of 1.75% of their rateable value, which will contribute to the funding of the BID programme for a period of five years.

Over the next three months we will begin the process of developing a BID governance board and working parties elected from levy payers large and small, representing different visitor economy business sectors. David Thornton and his team look forward to delivering the actions and aims laid out in the WIGHT BID proposals ready for the 2017 season.

Meanwhile Visit Isle of Wight’s summer and autumn current marketing and press activity continues as planned. Work will also commence on securing extra commercial benefits for levy-payers with suppliers and regional, national and international media channels. A voluntary scheme to encourage retailers and other mainland and Island suppliers to support the BID investment plan will also be launched by September.

Visit Isle of Wight would like to thank all those who supported the WIGHT BID, and reinforce its determination to do it’s very best for the whole of the Island’s visitor economy, benefiting all who live and work on the Isle of Wight.


Isle of Wight Council Ballot Officer statement >

The Wight BID proposal and supporting documentation can be accessed here >

For further information please contact Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd 01983 521555 (ext 29)/07766 705672,







British rock icons The Who are heading back to Seaclose Park on the Isle of Wight for the fourth time in the band’s history to headline The Isle of Wight Festival, it was announced today.

Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend and their live band, which includes Zak Starkey, Pino Palladino and Simon Townshend, will be bringing their globally successful Hits 50! tour to the island for their only UK festival performance of 2016 on Saturday 11th June, with a spectacular live show resplendent with hits including ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, ‘Baba O’Reilly’, ‘The Seeker’, ‘Pinball Wizard’, ‘Who Are You’ and ‘My Generation.’ The band first played The Isle of Wight Festival in 1969 and 1970 (the latter was immortalised in Murray Lerner’s well known ‘Message to Love’ documentary film), and then again in 2004 – the same year that David Bowie also headlined, his last ever UK live performance.

Richard Ashcroft is confirmed as special guest to The Who on the day, performing tracks from his new solo album ‘These People’.

Festival boss John Giddings says: “The Who are part of the fabric of The Isle of Wight Festival, and it’s great to welcome them back to the island as part of their ongoing 50th anniversary celebrations. We’re proud to have a line up of home-grown headliners to help celebrate our own 15th anniversary and ensure that this year delivers yet another unforgettable weekend of music.”

The Who and Richard Ashcroft join a ‘Best of British’ line up which includes headliners Queen + Adam Lambert, Stereophonics and Faithless, on what is the same weekend as the Queen’s 90th birthday.

The Who have sold over 100 million records since forming in 1964; they brought together four different personalities and in effect produced a musical hurricane.  Each of them was a pioneer. Wildman drummer Keith Moon beat his kit with a chaotic elegance; stoic bassist John Entwistle held down the center with the melodic virtuosity of a solo guitarist; raging intellectual Pete Townshend punctuated the epic universality of his songs with the windmill slamming of his fingers across his guitar strings; and Roger Daltrey roared above it all with an impossibly virile macho swagger. They exploded conventional rhythm and blues structures, challenged pop music conventions, and redefined what was possible on stage, in the recording studio, and on vinyl. Deep into their 50th year, the band is still going strong, winning rave reviews.

Richard Ashcroft is set to release his fourth solo album ‘These People’ in May, marking his first new album in six years. The BRIT and Ivor Novello winning artist was frontman of The Verve during the 90’s, producing hits such as ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ and ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’, before becoming a successful solo act in his own right – his first solo single ‘A Song For The Lovers’ peaked at No. 3 in the UK singles charts with the album ‘Alone With Everybody’ going to No. 1.

The Isle of Wight Festival takes place 9th-12th June at Seaclose Park, Newport.

A full range of ticket, travel and camping / accommodation options are available for The Isle of Wight Festival from


·      Weekend with/without Camping – £195

·      Student – £175

·      Teen – £145

·      Children under 12 – free

·      Disabled Access – Must be purchased via the Ticketmaster Special Access number 0800 988 4440

Boutique Camping:

Camp Kerala Mademoiselle provide Luxury Glamping backstage with room service and VIP transport

Tangerine Fields – Turn up and find your tent already pitched plus Tangerine Bar and Cafe and grooming facilities

Eve’s Tipis – Try something different and stay in a tipi, plus enjoy cocktails or champagne from the bar or some hot breakfast options to start your day right

Podpads – Bunk down in the colourful Podpads with solid wood or canvas options

Love Your Tent – enjoy an ethical camping experience plus hot showers and a Poodle Parlour!

Pink Moon Camping – Choose from a colourful collection of accommodation and enjoy your weekend with a unique camping experience!


A variety of travel options including ferry, speed boats, river crossing, Big Green Coach Company and National Rail can be viewed on the festival’s website.


For more information please contact:

DawBell PR

T: 020 3327 7111

Kate Etteridge –

Lisa Birch (print) –

Amelia O’Shea (online) –

Maria Barham (broadcast) –

The Isle of Wight Festival 2016 Line Up To Date

Stereophonics – Faithless – The Who – Queen + Adam Lambert


Adam Ant – Alabama 3 – Blossoms – Busted – Buzzcocks – Cast – The Corrs –

The Cribs – The Damned – Everything Everything – The Family Rain – Feeder –

Gabrielle Aplin – The Godfathers – Gutterdammerung – Half Moon Run – 

The High Kings – Iggy Pop – Jess Glynne – Joanne Shaw Taylor – The Kills – Lissie  – Maxi Jazz & The E-Type Boys – Mike + The Mechanics – Ocean Colour Scene – Pendulum (DJ set) – Reef – Reverend and the Makers – Richard Ashcroft –  

The Second Sons – Sex Pissed Dolls – Sigma (live) – SIXX: AM – Status Quo – 

Sunset Sons – Turin Brakes – Twin Atlantic – The Wonder Stuff

Visit Isle of Wight Travel Ambassador nominated for Visit England award

2016 started with extra celebrations at Visit Isle of Wight with the announcement that one of their Travel Ambassadors, Aaron Orman, has been short-listed in the Visit England Tourism Superstar awards 2016.

One of eleven candidates from across the country, Aaron was nominated by LSTF Project Manager for Visit Isle of Wight, Zoe Stroud for his can-do attitude and commitment to giving the warmest of welcomes to visitors to the Isle of Wight.

Visit England’s Tourism Superstar 2016 campaign 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 to ensure visitors to England have an unforgettable experience.

David Thornton CEO of Visit Isle of Wight commented: “I am absolutely delighted for Aaron who, in the short time he has been working for Visit Isle of Wight has shown himself to be an enthusiastic and committed member of the team.  We are enormously proud of him.”

Aaron said: “It was totally unexpected but amazing.  I just do my job like the other Travel Ambassadors and try to do my best. This award raises the profile of the Island, which is good for everyone who works in tourism”.

CEO of VisitEngland, James Berresford said: “This award recognises the people on the ground who meet and greet visitors on a daily basis, and whose consistent vision and dedication ensures that visitors to England have an memorable and fulfilling experience.”

The tribute to tourism star players, was launched in 2012 as part of English Tourism Week (this year running from 5th – 13th March) and is supported by the Daily Mirror who will host an online public vote from 16th January which shows a short film of all Tourism Superstar nominees. Readers will be able to vote for their favourite on

The winner will be announced during English Tourism Week and will be invited to accept their title at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence which is being held during English Tourism Week.


For further information, please contact: Abi Fox,, 01983 521555 ext 28

Notes to Editors

About Visit Isle of Wight
Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight.   As well as the consumer website the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities

Get social media updates from Visit Isle of Wight.   Go to,,,,

About VisitEngland
VisitEngland is the country’s national tourist board. We work in partnership with the industry to develop the visitor experience across England, plan national tourism strategy, grow the value of tourism in England and provide advocacy for the industry and our visitors. Our work is underpinned by robust research and customer insights. You can access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics on For corporate information see and for consumer information see

About Tourism Superstar
This initiative provides destination management organisations with the opportunity to participate for free in a national campaign which guarantees national media coverage.  The campaign champions careers in tourism (for people of all ages) and promotes quality, customer service and excellence within England’s tourism industry.  It importantly acknowledges that the industry is a people-facing, people-focused industry.

About English Tourism Week
English Tourism Week is led by the national tourist board, VisitEngland, and is an industry-wide initiative designed to shine a light on the importance of tourism in England. The industry as whole is worth £106billion to the UK economy and supports 2.6 million jobs. Hundreds of tourism organisations and businesses will be putting on events to celebrate English Tourism Week this year. For more information about English Tourism Week see



The world’s leading annual solo sailing race, the Solitaire du Figaro is coming to the Isle of Wight between the 22nd and 26th June, bringing an exciting five-day public event to Cowes as part of the Island’s colourful ‘Festival of the Sea’ celebrations.

A world-class sporting event with an international following, the 2016 Solitaire du Figaro spans 1425 miles between five European Host Venues – Deauville (France), Isle of Wight, Cowes (UK), Paimpol (France) and La Rochelle (France). Considered as the world championships of solo offshore racing, the Solitaire takes just over a month to complete and pushes competitors to the edge of human limitation – one man, one boat, 1500 miles, rough seas, harsh weather, no sleep…the list goes on.

An international event, the Solitaire du Figaro will bring not only a professional sailing race to the pontoons of Cowes Yacht Haven, but a bustling race village to Cowes Town. FREE and open from 22nd to 26th June, the Race Village will be fun for all the family – whether messing about on the water is your thing or not.

Mark McNeil, Deputy Mayor of Cowes and Chairman of ‘Destination Cowes’ –a key organisation behind the event – explained why hosting the Solitaire is important step forward for Cowes: “Portsmouth has had the America’s Cup, Southampton has had the Volvo Ocean Race – this is our chance to put Cowes back on the map as the UK and Europe’s sailing capital. A real spectacle of the sea and a showcase of top level sailing, the Solitaire will attract crowds from both the island and mainland to the Isle of Wight.”

The Solitaire du Figaro will offer five days of fun family entertainment in Cowes, including food markets, a drinks bar, live music in the Race Village and try sailing for all on the Solent – courtesy of the official event charity United Kingdom Sailing Academy (UKSA). Alongside the live entertainment, there will be a host of interactive stands and activities to entertain the public. For the local community there will be the opportunity to showcase in the Race Village, add to the entertainment schedule and for local children, a successful education program focused on coastal conservation and the environment.

Recognising this major event as an opportunity for increased tourism, international awareness and community involvement, Visit Isle of Wight are fully supportive of the Solitaire as Chief Executive David Thornton explained: “The forthcoming Solitaire du Figaro is a brand new and exciting event for the whole of the Isle of Wight and Cowes. We are delighted that the UK leg of the race coincides with the Island’s annual celebrations of our maritime lifestyle and heritage, ‘The Isle of Wight Festival of the Sea’, and we look forward to working with our partners in Cowes and our new friends in France to make this an exceptional celebration that everyone can enjoy and be a part of.”

Alongside the Island’s main tourism body, the businesses and organization forming the aforementioned ‘Destination Cowes’ are also key stakeholders in the event – Cowes Town Council, Cowes Business Association, Cowes Harbour Commission, Cowes Yacht Haven and Red Funnel. Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, Major General Martin White will act as the Patron for the event, and looks forward to welcoming the weary Solitaire skippers to Cowes next June: “This event is not only a marvellous opportunity for Cowes, but also a chance for the whole Island to welcome international competitors and supporters to our shores.  As a seafaring Island, we have much to offer both visitors and sailors alike and I very much hope the sailors will enjoy their stay with us.”

Following the success of the last UK stopover in Torbay, the Isle of Wight would hope to see 20,000 visitors pass through the Solitaire du Figaro race village over five days. The Solitaire du Figaro had a hugely positive economic impact on Torbay in 2015, injecting roughly 1.8 million pounds into the seaside town.

The Isle of Wight is one of four venues playing host to this major sporting event in 2016. Starting from Deauville, a grand French town twinned with Cowes on the 19th June, the Solitaire competitors are expected to dock into in Cowes Yacht Haven around the 22nd June after sailing 510 miles.

The race will restart in the Solent on Sunday 26th June, a spectacle not to be missed from the water or the Parade. From Cowes, the Solitaire du Figaro fleet will race to Paimpol (France), and finish in La Rochelle (France) on the 7th of July.

For more information please contact Emma Harris – or tel: 01983 282797


Notes to Editors

Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight.   As well as the consumer website the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities

Get social media updates from Visit Isle of Wight.   Go to,,,,



Organisers of Wight in Bloom, who recently launched this year’s event in spectacular style on board a Red Funnel ferry, are asking Islanders to enter the competition to brighten up their gardens, improve the local environment and create a dazzling floral greeting for visitors.

The competition is similar to the RHS Britain in Bloom campaign, which sees local communities work together to plant, prune, and dress local gardens and enhance communal spaces ready to be judged by the competition supporters.

Sponsored by Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) – who have taken over management of the competition alongside Red Funnel Ferries – Wight in Bloom 2015 is being developed as a curtain-raiser to VIOW’s Garden Isle campaign, which will coincide with Visit England’s Year of the Garden 2016.

Alan Titchmarsh MBE VMH DL has been appointed Patron of the event, while previous organiser, Peggy Jarman, was made President and given an “Outstanding Achievement” Award at a floating garden party on board Red Eagle last week (26th May).   The floating garden created by Ventnor Botanic Garden was unveiled to a packed audience of supporters, including previous winners of the annual competition.

There are 8 categories to choose from and judging will take place early July for prizes that include trophies, gift vouchers and gardening tools.

To inspire both dedicated gardeners and enthusiastic amateurs to fill their towns with brightly coloured floral displays, Parish Councils can apply for a grant of £200. Hoping to make their towns stand out from the crowd this year, Bembridge and Northwood have already entered the Best Community Floral Project category while Godshill has entered this and the Best Young People Initiative categories. For further details on how to apply for the grant email

Wight in Bloom categories are:

1 – Best Small Front Garden

Any individual household may enter their front garden.

2 – Best Large Front Garden

Any individual household may enter their front garden.

3 – Best Public House

An individual property which has a large external garden and includes hanging baskets,

tubs and window boxes and other external garden features.

4 – Best Accommodation Garden

Hotel/Guest house/Self Catering/Accommodation provider.

5 – Best Senior Citizen Complex/Nursing Home/Care Home

Open to all public and private sectors to enter the exterior of their complexes.

6 – Best Young People Initiative

Head teachers or youth leaders may enter a group of children/young people, who have undertaken a particular floral or environmental project in the school or community.

7 – Best Community Floral Project

Groups of local people/organisations/town or parish councils may get together and enter

a project which they have undertaken in their area and may involve a floral design, conservation, litter clearance, tidying up of sites, etc. (To include church grounds).

8 – Best Tourist Attraction Garden/ Restaurant/Business

Free to enter and paid admission tourist attractions are both eligible to enter this category.


Mike Fitt OBE, Wight in Bloom Campaign Advisor, said: “Wight In Bloom is a competition for everyone to enter, as individuals or in groups, no matter what age or ability. It is not only about beautiful floral displays but also about efforts to make the local environment a cleaner and greener place for all to enjoy, helping to celebrate this fantastic Garden Isle of ours.”

The winners of Wight in Bloom will be announced at a Garden Party in August, where a glass trophy, sponsored by The Needles Landmark Attraction will be presented to the overall winner of Wight in Bloom 2015.

An application form can be found online at or, alternatively pick one up from the IW County Press office, Red Funnel ferry terminals or IW garden centres.


For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Tel: 01983 201048, 07766 705672, E-mail:

Notes to editors

Image attached “The Festival of Flower Fireworks now on display at Ventnor Botanic Gardens”

The Festival of Flower Fireworks, part of the 2015 Garden Isle celebrations, focuses on the Botanic garden’s amazing Echium plants, with their huge flower spikes growing over 3m tall.

The Garden’s Mediterranean walk contains hundreds of plants, each with a flower spike containing thousands of flowers with every shade of colour between sapphire blue and dusky pink. The result is a stunning floral explosion likened to a natural firework display that all botanic fanatics visiting the island will simply adore.

Echiums have been grown at Ventnor Botanic Garden for over 30 years, with plants originally imported from the Canary Island of La Palma. Here the plants grow to gigantic sizes in the wild, especially in the dry mountainous upper reaches of the Island, enjoying the warm climate arid terrain. At Ventnor, the original Echium plants have self-seeded in the sheltered sub-tropical micro-climate giving rise to a large collection hybridised plants that flower from the end of May to late June.

The Echium displays are currently exploding into the spotlight, with the Garden open 7 days a week from 10am for visitors to enjoy the magic of these flower fireworks.



Celebrity gardener and TV presenter, Alan Titchmarsh MBE, VMH (Victoria Medal of Honour RHS) has been revealed as Patron of “Wight in Bloom”, an annual horticultural competition which is open to all Island residents, with the aim to make the Island a brighter, greener place to live and visit.

Sponsored by Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) – who have taken over management of the competition alongside Peggy Jarman – and Red Funnel Ferries, Wight in Bloom 2015 is being developed as a curtain-raiser to VIOW’s Garden Isle campaign, which will coincide with Visit England’s Year of the Garden 2106.


What:               A “floating” garden cocktail party, provided by Ventnor Botanic Gardens, will take place on board Red Funnel’s Red Eagle car ferry to launch Wight in Bloom 2015.

In attendance:David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, who will announce plans for Wight in Bloom 2015, Jonathan Green, Marketing & Communications Director, Red Funnel Ferries, Peggy Jarman, organiser Wight in Bloom, Mike Fitt OBE, Wight in Bloom Campaign Advisor, along with past winners of the Wight in Bloom competition.

Peggy Jarman who has been running Wight in Bloom for many years is retiring and will be made Honorary President.

(In addition, Simon Goodenough, AHRHS (Associate of Honour awarded by the RHS) has agreed to become a Special Advisor of Wight in Bloom).

Where:            On board the Red Eagle car ferry.

When   :           Tuesday, 26th May

Time:               From 6pm – meet Sue Emmerson, Visit Isle of Wight, in the Red Funnel ticket office, Trinity Road, East Cowes. Closest postcode PO32 6RA.

6.30pm –`car ferry departs East Cowes with invited guests

7pm – photocall on board ferry.

8pm – ferry arrives back at East Cowes

Please e-mail michelle@visitwight if you would like to attend this event.

Root out the gardening gloves, go potty with those plants and get growing for the return of Wight in Bloom in 2015.

Residents, schools, businesses, community groups, towns and villages on the Island are invited to don their gardening gloves and take part in Wight in Bloom.

The annual competition is open to all Island residents and organisations to show the rest of the Island what they’ve been doing to brighten up their garden and improve the local environment.

To be in with a chance of winning, keen gardeners can choose to enter one of 8 main categories:

1          Best Small Front Garden

2          Best Large Front Garden

3          Best Public House

4          Best Accommodation Garden

5          Best Senior Citizen Complex/Nursing Home/Care Home

6          Best Young People Initiative

7          Best Community Floral Project

8          Best Tourist Attraction Garden

The 2015 event is organised and sponsored by Visit Isle of Wight and Red Funnel Ferries who are adding their support and financial backing to the event to help create a vibrant and welcoming environment for visitors.

The organisers hope that the appointment of popular celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh as Patron of Wight in Bloom will emphasise the Island’s green credentials and help inspire Islanders to get involved in Wight in Bloom this year.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said: “We’re honoured that Alan has agreed to be our Patron of Wight in Bloom and now plan a major push to encourage more tourism businesses and retailers on the Island to show a bit of flower power this summer.

“The success of the Wight in Bloom is testament to all the hard work and dedication by the organiser, Peggy Jarman, who over the years has worked with Island communities, businesses and local individuals to help create colourful displays at entrances to villages, around bus shelters, in pub gardens and in residents’ own front gardens.”

Peggy Jarman said:  “I am thrilled and delighted that Visit Isle of Wight and Red Funnel have stepped in to support the competition.

“Whether you are a novice gardener or an expert, everyone is very welcome to enter and make our Island a greener and more colourful place”.

Judging will take place in July and entry is free.  An awards ceremony will be held in August, where prizes for the lucky winners – one for each of the 8 categories and an overall winner – will hopefully be presented by Alan Titchmarsh.

Alan Titchmarsh said: “The Island is bursting with natural beauty from its wildflower cliff walks, bluebell woods and orchid-rich fields, to its cottage gardens, horticultural shows and wide variety of public and private gardens.

“I’m therefore honoured to be Patron of Wight in Bloom and look forward to seeing who it discovers next.”

Green-fingered Islanders can join in the floral fun by completing the entry form which will be available in the 22nd May edition of the Isle of Wight County Press.


For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Tel: 01983 201048, 07766 705672, E-mail:



Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW), the Isle of Wight Council and Island Roads are pleased to announce that after months of negotiation, they have been successful in their bid to host one of the stages of The Pearl Izumi Tour Series – one of the UK’s leading televised cycle races, bringing action and excitement to the town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight.

The Pearl Izumi Tour Series – put together by the same team behind the organisation and promotion of Tour of Britain – brings together the very best in British professional teams and high-profile, celebrity riders, competing on town and city centre circuits in front of packed crowds as a part of a full day of cycling activities.

The main, team-based race, which is open to 10 teams comprising of five professional cyclists, is a highly popular and competitive event. Registered entrants have the chance to ‘test their mettle’ around the circuit and against the clock. The team with the fastest lap times will be presented with winners’ medals on the professional podium!

Taking place at 10 venues around the UK in May and June, the star-studded sporting event will use a circular route around the town on Thursday, 14th May. Ryde town centre will be converted into a professional race circuit giving residents and visitors an adrenaline-fuelled glimpse of Britain’s top professional cyclists battling out in our streets.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said: “Attracting high profile events like The Pearl Izumi Tour Series is only possible because we have Visit Isle of Wight, our own destination management organisation (DMO) building partnerships and opportunities.

“This single event should deliver approaching £750,000 of media value and visitor spend this year alone.

“Winning the bid to host the race on a Thursday rather than the usual Tuesday is a major coup for the Island as it provides an opportunity to build long weekend business in mid May.”

Councillor Jonathan Bacon, Leader of the Isle of Wight Council, added: “It is very pleasing we have been able to secure this prestigious event to come to the Isle of Wight in such a wonderful location. The council recently secured nearly £1 million under the government’s second Local Sustainable Transport Fund and the money is being used to support local initiatives and projects such as ‘Bicycle Island’ to encourage people to leave their cars at home and use sustainable transport. Part of the LSTF grant can be used to support local events and we are delighted to be supporting such an important sporting occasion using some of the funding, because major sporting events such as the Pearl Izumi Tour are shown to inspire people take part in recreational cycling.

“Elsewhere the tour has attracted thousands of spectators and I am sure local residents will come along and support this event and join in the fun. It is also a great opportunity to celebrate the Island as a place where people want to live, work and visit.”

Alastair Grant, Commercial Director at Sweetspot, commented “We are excited to be bringing the Pearl Izumi Tour Series to Ryde and the Isle of Wight, which will be the first, not just for the Series, but also for one of SweetSpot’s event. We are sure that residents from across the Island will be excited by the chance to watch Britain’s fastest teams in action, and hope lots of fans travel with us to enjoy the race in a beautiful setting.”
The team-based, cycle race series, which attracts thousands of spectators, will be televised the following evening on sports channel ITV4, bringing action-packed and exciting team-based racing into living rooms across the UK.

The Pearl Izumi Tour Series is being funded by VIOW and LSTF – the project which aims to improve and promote the Island’s sustainable transport network – with support from Island Roads, Ryde Town Council, Ryde Business Association, Southern Vectis and ferry operators Wightlink and Red Funnel.

The staging of the event, which follows months of negotiation led by VIOW, will cost just over £90,000 – a joint investment of £27,250 by the DMO and partners, £45,000 from the LSTF fund and a cash equivalent of up to £20,000 by other partners including Island Roads.

Paul Herbert, Service Director at Island Roads said: “As an Island company passionate about improving the highways network for the benefit of all road users, we are delighted to be playing our part in supporting this high profile event which will bring both positive publicity and an economic boost to the Island.”

With a wide range of community activities and support events planned for the 14th May, plus the main Pearl Izumi Tour Series race at 7.00pm, there’ll be plenty to see and do for local residents and visiting spectators alike.
The race route and full schedule of events will be available by the beginning of April.


For further information including interviews, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Tel: 01983 201048, 07766 705672, E-mail:

Notes to editors:

Image attached (to announce The Pearl Izumi Tour Series being held in Ryde, Isle of Wight). Left to right; Paul Wyatt – Ryde Business Association, Cllr Jonathan Bacon, Leader, Isle of Wight Council, Lee Matthews, Recreation and Public Spaces Manager, Isle of Wight Council, Roi Milburn, Mayor of Ryde Town Council, Cllr Luisa Hillard, Isle of Wight Council’s Executive member for sustainability, environment and public realm, Paul Herbert – Service Director for Island Roads,David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, Tim Blackmore, Commercial Assistant, Southern Vectis. Front James Sumner (cyclist) TAV Cycles, Ryde

The Pearl Izumi Tour Series

The staging of the event, which follows months of negotiation led by VIOW, will cost just over £90,000 – a joint investment of £27,250 by the DMO and partners, £45,000 from the LSTF fund and a cash equivalent of up to £20,000 by other partners including Island Roads.

The event organisers, Sweetspot, believe the event will bring an economic impact of £447K to the Island (see below). The TV coverage on ITV4 is worth £250K, plus a print value of no less than £50K, which equates to an overall value of £750K in terms of economic impact and positive PR.

The full list of ten teams teams for the Pearl Izumi Tour Series will be announced at the Series launch on Thursday, 26th February, alongside the full calendar of venues for the 2015 Pearl Izumi Tour Series, the seventh season of the unique team-based cycle race Series, with the official launch of the Series at Madison’s IceBike trade show. For more information, visit

SweetSpot are cycling specialists, currently organising a wide portfolio of events throughout the year. You can follow the links below to find out more about all of our world-class events.

SweetSpot Group are a sports events and marketing company specialising in the creation and execution of high-quality, annual sporting events. SweetSpot were behind the successful revival of the Tour of Britain, the UK’s largest professional cycle race, in 2004 after a five-year absence, which now forms a cornerstone of the British sporting calendar and is the country’s largest free-to-watch sporting event.

Visit Isle of Wight
Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight. As well as the consumer website ( the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities:

Travel with Wightlink Ferries and get some ‘Room to Breathe’ this winter – Winter family breaks from £265. Romantic luxury winter breaks from £365 –

Wightlink Ferries, the ferry company of choice for those travelling to and from the Isle of Wight, has launched its winter “Room to Breathe” campaign, which will run until end-March 2015. Focussing on inspiring and promoting travel to the Isle of Wight during the off-peak months, the campaign showcases the vast range of accommodation, wide open spaces and off-peak activities available across the Island.

Mark Persad, Head of Marketing, Wightlink Ferries, said: “The winter months offer a new dimension to the Isle of Wight; there are less crowds, open spaces, unspoilt beaches, homely pubs and restaurants and some superb local cultural festivals and independent shopping.

“It is perfect for families during the off-peak season, particularly those with young children who don’t wish to travel too far for their great escape, whilst also suiting couples who are looking for that peaceful retreat from the daily grind. The winter Isle of Wight offers an uplifting and invigorating experience that should not be missed and we hope Wightlink will be showing this to more visitors this season.”

Those looking to escape the mainland with their families for some room to breathe during the colder months can now take advantage of family weekend breaks priced from £265. This price includes return ferry travel and 3 nights stay for up to six people at the Old Mill Holiday Park’s Pine Cabin in St Helens in January. For a family of four, this works out to be just £22 per person per night.

Couples seeking a romantic getaway during January can travel and stay on the Isle of Wight with Wightlink and The Hambrough from £365. Including return ferry travel, two night weekend stay in an executive room, full English breakfast, cream tea with prosecco and a two course meal for two; couples can retreat to this luxury boutique accommodation to enjoy unrivalled views of the sea above the fishing harbour in Ventnor.

When planning a trip to the Island, travellers should look no further than Wightlink’s special edition of its lifestyle guide to the inside track on the Island, “Wightlife”. For the first time ever “Wightlife” can be downloaded through Apple Store, Google Play, Amazon and at for on-the-go holiday research and planning.

And, if that doesn’t offer enough inspiration, holiday planners can see the number of winter activities available across the Island for themselves in Wightlink’s ‘Room to breathe’ video series. The videos can be viewed on the dedicated Room to Breathe website page:

For press interested in a trip to the Isle of Wight with Wightlink to see why a winter break should be on everyone’s “must do list”, we would be delighted to arrange a one night stay for two this January.
This would include ferry crossings, B&B and entry to one attraction. We may also be able to arrange one meal, depending on what the trip includes.

We would ask for the coverage to appear before mid-March 2015.

For more information about Wightlink Ferries, please contact:

Belinda Hallworth 0207 886 8456
Sophy Norris 01392 248 934
Nadia Fidler 0207 886 8457

Wightlink – Part of Island Life

Wightlink is the leading cross-Solent ferry operator carrying almost five million holidaymakers and Islanders across the Solent to the Isle of Wight every year. Nine ferries on three routes provide Island-wide coverage and complete 48,000 sailings a year giving Islanders an easy and frequent service to the mainland, and tourists an accessible way to enjoy a taste of Island life.

You can step off the train from London, hop on a Wightlink catamaran and be on the Island in just 22 minutes, the car ferries take around 40 minutes from Portsmouth and Lymington and sailings between Portsmouth and Fishbourne run 24 hours a day. On board, passengers and drivers alike can relax in the lounges and enjoy some refreshments before arriving on the Island to enjoy the range of attractions, events and experiences that make the Isle of Wight a leading destination for tourists.

The opening of the Hindhead Tunnel in Surrey has cut journey times to Portsmouth from Greater London. By contrast, Wightlink’s port at Lymington is reached by an attractive drive through the scenic New Forest.

Wightlink has a long and proud history of supporting holidaymakers and local people alike. It works closely with the tourism organisation Visit Isle of Wight to promote the Island as one of the UK’s top visitor attractions. Closer to home, the company backs Island charities, arts groups and sports teams to the tune of £350,000 a year.