Hopes for a summer of fun rise as Lancashire holiday park Ribby Hall Village reopens to the public
Excitement was in the air as holidaymakers returned to Ribby Hall for the first time this week.
Both visitors and staff were enjoying getting back to something like normality in the Wrea Green spring sunshine as the latest lockdown restriction was lifted on Lancashire’s crucial tourism and hospitality industry.
Peter Burke was enjoying a meal in the open air with his family at Ribby Hall’s Terrazza restaurant and bar. They had earmarked April 12 for a break so that they could get together and relax as soon as the virus restrictions allowed.
He said: “We have been coming for seven years, it’s better than Tenerife!
“I read in a daily newspaper that Ribby is the happiest place in England to live. We don’t live here though, we are from Manchester. It’s brilliant to be here. It is about time that things started to get open again I think the whole country needs it.
Peter’s wife, Victoria said: “It feels amazing to be here. We have booked time off work to come and enjoy the week. We have been looking forward to it for a long time. We just enjoy the way of life, the atmosphere, the surroundings. It ticks all the boxes for us. We are here with the grandchildren and everyone is loving it.”
Jessica Aitken the manager of Terrazza was enjoying meeting the customers in the busy restaurant. She said: “It was obviously hard having been off from work for such a long time, but it has been good to get back into it and see people again.
“Because we have already done it in July, it made it easier, we knew what to expect and the preparation was easier. No-one want us to go back into lockdown again.”
Andrew Scott Spa Hotel manager had come in to work with the Terrazzo team ahead of May 17 when hotels are scheduled to reopen according to the government road map.
He said: “I have been working with WG Harrison Ltd and Ribby Hall Village for more than 30 years and I got a call from Miss Harrison who asked if I would like to come back early and work with the team on Terrazza and I jumped at the chance.
“If yesterday was anything to go by, it is going to be a fabulous season. Fortunately the government has allowed Spa treatments, so our guests can go up there and enjoy a bit of pampering, but we are looking forward to May 17 when we can hopefully reopen the hotel to its full extent.”
Spa manager Jane Tregonning said there had been a steady stream of people coming for pampering.
She said: “It has taken weeks of planning with the building being shut for so long. There’s nearly 50 people, we had one to one time to make sure they were OK, and a general re-introduction. It is quite a long time to be not coming to work. We are all very excited to be back.
"It was amazing to get the doors open yesterday and see regular guest we get. It is nice in a way to get started gradually but we have four weeks until we open fully and get the aqua thermal open it will be wonderful."
Carole Pilling, senior manager of accommodation, said the first day had been a special one for both guests and staff.
She said: “We are pleased with the early bookings and it is wonderful to see visitors returning.
“It’s really exciting to be back, yesterday was a bit like the first day at school, amazing. Its such a special place to work, there is genuine excitement from everyone, there was little bit of apprehension before hand for some, but once we were here it was great to see everyone again.”
Health clubs and gyms have been allowed to open once more so people can get back inside to hone their fitness and boost their mental wellbeing.
Chris Chambers health club manager at Ribby Hall Village which has a range of sports, said people had been raring to go to get back on the weights and machines and take a dip in the pool.
He said: “Its been amazing there has been such and energy about the place since we opened the doors at 6.30am yesterday.
“We had thirty waiting to get in before we opened.
“Everybody’s happy with a smile on their face - even when they are doing their work-outs, so its really great!
“There have been good numbers all day in the gym and we have also have outside classes and of course the leisure pools with a real family atmosphere.”
Ryan Dodds, 30, from Wrea Green, was one of the visitors going through his regular work-out.
He said he was making the most of the facilities upstairs in the gym as he could do exercises that he could not at home during lockdown.
He said: “I have been a member since I was a kid. I live just round the corner it has everything I need.
“It feels brilliant to get out to the house, get back to the gym and work and just get back to something more like normal.”
Blackpool Gazette: Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here