There was a triple taste of stardom this summer for a Dorset holiday park which found itself to be glittering with its guests in three very different ways.
Family-owned South Lytchett Manor began by being showered in stardust by VisitEngland when the national tourist board announced its 2020 awards.
It scooped a maximum five stars as a touring and camping park, plus a special gold award for the exceptional quality of its accommodation and customer service.
VisitEngland also gave the park a top-level grading for the welcome it provides to older and less mobile guests – whilst the AA chipped in with its ultimate platinum award.
The next star shining at South Lytchett Manor was funny-man John Challis who plays Boycie in BBC TV’s much-loved sitcom Only Fools and Horses.
Boycie was at the park to film an advertisement for caravan distributors Automotive Leisure, and proved a big hit among guests during his stay.
The third star this summer at South Lytchett Manor was entirely home-grown after the park’s marketing manager, Emily Freeman, triumphed in the Ironman Triathlon.
Emily’s performance in the tough qualification event has won her a place in the Ironman World Championships which will be taking place this October in Hawaii.
She recorded the second overall best women’s time after completing a 2.4-mile swim followed by a 112-mile bicycle ride, topped off by a 26.2 mile marathon.
Joanne Bridgen, who with her husband David has owned South Lytchett Manor for the past 14 years, said everyone was delighted with the park’s star-studded summer:
“Our VisitEngland and AA awards were fantastic news, not least because both put a big emphasis on the high standards of hospitality and welcome given to guests,” she said.
“Delivering this is very much in the hands of our loyal and hardworking staff, so they deserve a big share of the credit for these accolades.
“The icing on the cake was, of course, Emily’s Ironman success – and we’re all very proud of her achievement, and are crossing our fingers for October!” added Joanne.
Emily’s success came despite her relying in the cycling stage on a budget-priced bike – and now she has launched a crowdfunding campaign to buy a model more suited to the national finals.