Page last updated at 20:00 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Duchess wins tourism accolade for Derbyshire attraction

Chatsworth House
Chatsworth has been home to the Cavendish family for centuries

The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire has won a lifetime tourism award for her work in developing Chatsworth House into a top attraction.

The 89-year-old will receive the Excel Tourism Award, which recognises unsung heroes and heroines of the tourism.

During her career, she has launched various enterprises at Chatsworth - principally the Farm Shop and other retail outlets.

The Chatsworth estate has a combined annual turnover of about £10m.

"Our aim is to highlight the contribution made by people, rather than the organisations they work for, to demonstrate the wealth of quality and excellence we have within our tourism workforce," said David James, chief executive of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire.

"Tourism is a key player in the Derbyshire economy - worth around £1.4 billion a year and employing more than 24,000 people," he added.

The Dowager Duchess, alongside her late husband, the 11th Duke, transformed Chatsworth from a post-war estate crippled by death duties into a thriving business operation and tourist attraction.

She will receive the accolade in the presence of her son and daughter-in-law, The 12th Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, at the ceremony.

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