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An Isle of Wight man known as ‘Dancing Man’ has made it through to the final stage of a national competition – and now he needs your help.

Red Funnel’s very own Jim O’Reilly has been nominated as a Tourism Superstar by destination management organisation Visit Isle of Wight, and is now a finalist competing for the top prize.

The Tourism Superstar competition recognises the dedication and passion of those working in the tourism industry. It is awarded to an individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure visitors to England have an unforgettable experience, organised by national newspaper, the Daily Mirror.

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A familiar figure to many who use the Southampton-East Cowes Red Funnel route, Jim has entertained countless thousands with his dance moves as he directs cars on and off the waiting ferry.

It is now up to the public to vote for Jim O’Reilly to become the winning Tourism Superstar.

Jim, from Cowes, explains that he hopes it gives visitors a good start to their holiday:

“My approach is to give everyone a warm welcome when they arrive and then bid them a fond farewell. I like to help start and finish their holiday with a smile and hope they have a great time in between as well.”

The Isle of Wight’s Jim O’Reilly is up against competition from Newcastle, York and Essex for the title. He says he hopes people will vote for him:

“Vote for me if you’ve had a good time, or if I helped start and end your visit to the Isle of Wight with a smile. I’m out there having fun, and if you are too that’s fantastic! Vote for me, by all means, as long as you’re enjoying it!!”

Visit Isle of Wight’s Simon Dabell said:

“Memories from holidays are as much about the people you meet as the places you stay and visit. A genuine welcome is always appreciated and if that is accompanied by a song or a dance, then all the better! Jim O’Reilly delivers that welcome as only Jim can and so let’s all do our bit to make him a tourism superstar!”

Murray Carter, Customer Services Director, Red Funnel said:

“We are absolutely thrilled about Jim’s nomination for the VisitEngland Tourism Superstar Award. Jim completely embodies everything this award stands for and he is a wonderful ambassador for the Isle of Wight. I hope everyone who has ever found themselves smiling because of Jim will take a moment and vote!”

Jim, who suffers from arthritis and had a hip replacement at the age of 45, says the dancing actually helps:

“I don’t want to start body popping or anything like that, but it does help, keeping myself active, flexing the muscles, it’s doing good.“

You can vote for Jim to become the Tourism Superstar 2018 at https://www.mirror.co.uk/travel/uk-ireland/meet-finalists-2018-tourism-superstar-11992093.

By voting, you will be automatically entered into a draw to win a £1000 ‘staycation’ holiday or a £500 city break in London. Voting ends at midnight on 20th March and the winner will be announced during English Tourism Week, on 24th March.

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