Tears as Beaver take ‘Top of the Shops’ national accolade

Top of the Shops - Beaver Travel proving that Elgin shops can succeed
Top of the Shops – Beaver Travel proving that Elgin shops can succeed

TEARS WERE SHED at an awards ceremony last week that saw the firm built up by the late Ian Widdowson and his wife Fiona win two major prizes.

Beaver Travel lifted the first ever TTG Travel Awards prize as Scotland’s No.1 Travel Agency – and as if that was not enough, the business with shops in Elgin and Forres also beat off 500 challengers to become ‘Top of the Shops’.

The business was built up by Ian and Fiona who have been fantastic ambassadors for Moray. Before his death following a tragic accident on New Year’s Day, Ian also filled the role as chairman of Piping at Forres, the fantastically successful hosting of the European Pipe Band Championships.

Mrs Widdowson collected the awards in a glittering ceremony in Birmingham last week, after which she said of Ian’s loss: “It was hard for everyone – and that is why the award is not only a tribute to Ian, but also our incredible hard-working team.

“They have really gone above and beyond in the last few months to carry on the business, it was tough for all of them as well as for me.”

Beaver Travel has moved away from the run-of-the-mill travel agency by introducing coffee shops in their branches, a mix that has proven highly popular with people in both Moray towns. Mrs Widdowson said: “We are not the kind of dowdy, scruffy-looking shop that people are going to walk past and that will end up closed in a year.

“There is an awful lot of doom and gloom said about high streets – particularly in Elgin, but it does not have to be like that. We do a lot of work to ensure we stay ahead of the game.”

TTG editor Pippa Jacks said: “Our search for the nation’s best travel agents has taken us the length and breadth of the country, where we’ve uncovered countless stories of brilliant agents going the extra mile for their customers, giving great value, and serving their communities.

“What our new Top 50 list shows is that travel retailing in 2016 is a vibrant and successful business sector, and that – particularly on the high street – agents continue to prove their worth by delivering phenomenal customer service to their customers.”