A museum engager who has devoted almost 40 years to ensuring visitors have an unforgettable experience has been crowned Durham Tourism Superstar 2023.
Ian Bean, an engager at Beamish, The Living Museum of the North, secured the most public votes in the annual competition, which is organised by Visit County Durham, the county’s Local Visitor Economy Partnership.
Ian first volunteered at Beamish Museum 37 years ago, when he was 20 years old, and has gone on to embrace many different roles at the popular attraction.
From riding penny farthings, restoring vintage vehicles and taking part in Suffragette rallies, to helping to deliver sessions for people living with dementia, marshalling events and playing the street organ – he is a man of many talents who always goes above and beyond for visitors and his colleagues.
He even appeared in the Downton Abbey film, driving the vintage bus he restored, and has clocked up more than 300,000 views on the social media platform TikTok as Penny Farthing Guy.