Glowing tributes have been paid to tourism officer Viv Wood after she retired following 24 years with Fylde Council.
Viv plans a brief rest before taking up some charity work - and is already particularly looking forward to next year’s Lytham Festival, which has grown in quick time to be one of the biggest events of its kind in the north.
At this year’s Festival, in appreciation of her efforts in getting what was originally Lytham Proms under way in 2009, she was presented with a lifetime VIP pass by promoters Daniel Cuffe and Peter Taylor, who said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Viv over the years.
“Viv has done a sterling job for the whole of Fylde supporting numerous businesses and events throughout her time and her support for all that we’ve done with Lytham Festival since its inception in 2009 has been incredible.
“We said a special thank you to Viv at this year’s Lytham Festival when we invited her on stage to present her with two lifetime AAA lanyards.
“Viv has always been a huge advocate for Lytham Festival and therefore we wanted to say thank you by ensuring she can come to the event as much as she likes in the future as our very special guest.”
Viv, whose links with Fylde started on a part-time basis in administration support, says she is particularly proud of the way events such as the Lytham Festival, the St Annes Kite Festival and the 1940s wartime weekend have grown massively in recent years to cement Fylde’s reputation as a real magnet for visitors.
“I have had a wonderful time and I am so proud that the number of visitors to our lovely area continues to increase,” she said.
“I remember when I first came here with my husband Michael after years of working for the Ministry of Defence at various locations abroad.
“He was taking up a job at Guardian in Lytham and we thought what a wonderful place it would be to live.
“That’s the message I have aimed to get across in all these years in tourism - it really is the loveliest area, with so much to offer for visitors and the big increase recently in major events has really helped boost numbers.
“All the festivals have really grown rapidly and I am also very proud of the work we have done staging the very successful Rainford Trophy golf tournament all these years.”
Fylde Council leader Coun Sue Fazackerley said: “In my previous role as Cabinet member for leisure and culture, I worked very closely with Viv for a number of years and was able to observe, at first hand, the enthusiasm, dedication and passion with which she carries out every aspect of her work.
“Viv has a genuine love of Fylde and delights in promoting all we have to offer and encouraging and supporting new ventures such as the Lytham Festival, the Wartime Weekend and the Kite Festival.
“During the past few weeks, numerous emails have been received from individuals, partner organisations and local groups with whom she has come into contact over her 24 years in post and who have benefited from her knowledge, experience and willingness to go more than the extra mile to assist them.
“I heartily agree with the tributes she has received and would like to quote a prominent local hotelier who wrote to Viv saying, ‘You’ve been Olympic gold standard’.
“I am convinced that she is one of those few people who can look back on their career with the satisfaction of knowing that they could have done no better.”
Viv is succeeded by Tim Dixon, who has spent the last 10 years as a business development manager at Marketing Lancashire, previously the Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board, and has taken up the new post of Fylde’s tourism and cultural services manager.
Tim’s new role varies from Viv’s somewhat in that it oversees other elements in addition to tourism - including arts, culture, leisure and sport - overseeing a team of five at the town hall in St Annes.
Tim said: “I am very excited to be at Fylde Council to continue to promote the wonderful array of experiences, events, places to stay, eat and visit right across the district and expand and develop the arts, cultural and leisure offering. The role brings together many elements of my 24-year career to date and offers me the chance to contribute to the work of Fylde Council.
“I am very lucky that the area is synonymous with such high quality and I am relishing the opportunity to build on what has been achieved and use digital, web, social media and the latest technology.”