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Falmouth Tall Ships Regatta and the Pandora Inn were the big winners at last night South West Tourism Awards, both scooping gold in their respective categories.

The Tall Ships event, which attracted 197, 000 people over four days last August, was awarded Tourism Event of the Year.

Sam Groom, Falmouth Tall Ships event manager, said: “The Tourism Event of the Year award is a symbol of the hard work and passion of the hundreds of people that made the Falmouth Tall Ships Regatta the success that it was.

“From volunteers and local businesses to the emergency services and of course the vessels themselves, everyone got behind the event and together we made sure the end of August 2014 was a time to be proud of.

“I couldn’t be more delighted that the event has been recognised and is up there with the big names in the industry.”

The Pandora Inn at Restronguet took gold in the Tourism Pub of the Year category, for the third year in a row.

Admitting beforehand that it faced some “stiff competition” for this year’s trophy, the team described the win on Facebook after the announcement as “fantastic, ” adding: “Thanks to our fab team and to all our loyal customers for their support.”

The team at the Pandora Inn with their trophy and category sponsor

Other businesses in the Falmouth area picked up a clutch of bronze awards, including the town’s St Michael’s Hotel & Spa for Large Hotel of the Year and Highcliffe Contemporary Bed & Breakfast for B&B and Guest Accommodation of the Year, the The Idles Rocks Hotel at St Mawes for Small Hotel of the Year and Cosawes Barton at Ponsanooth for Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year.

The Emerald at Carnon Downs won the Special Award for Water Management.

It was a good night for Cornwall, which walked away with more than half of the top titles across the 20 categories.

The South West Tourism Excellence Awards, which took place at the Grand Pier at Weston-Super-Mare, are the result of a rigorous three-stage judging process of marking, visits and panel meetings. They form the regional heat of the national VisitEngland awards, to which eligible winners will now progress.

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