PENSIONER Jean Barton's cheerful personality and smile has won her a second major tourist award.

Five years ago she was appointed an MBE for services to the catering industry and now the 71-year-old has been given another prestigious accolade - the York Tourism Bureau's outstanding award for customer service at The Black Swan Hotel in Helmsley.

She was a full-time waitress in the hotel's restaurant until recently when she "retired" but still serves breakfasts to guests.

During the near 50 years she has worked at the famous hotel - one of the best known in the north of England - Jean modestly admits to having met film and television stars, royalty and government ministers, though she discreetly declines to name them.

"I've met some very wealthy people and some very charming ones," said Jean.

"Mine is a lovely job working with smashing staff and I've been particularly pleased to be working with young Polish and South Africans who we have now - I think they look on me as a grandma!"

Her daughter, Alison, is head housekeeper at The Black Swan. "Everyone thinks so highly of mum - and she loves her job and talking to guests."

When she is not serving meals, Jean spends her time writing poetry and helping to raise funds for the Ladies Lifeboat Guild in Helmsley.