Cumbria parks chief up for top director award

Michael Holgate with Silverdale's Jessica Douglas and a recent book celebrating 60 years of the family business

Michael Holgate with Silverdale’s Jessica Douglas and a recent book celebrating 60 years of the family business

One of the North West’s most inspirational business leaders has been revealed as the owner of a major Cumbria holiday parks group, Michael Holgate.

Michael was named as one of just three top bosses selected as finalists in the “family company” category of the Institute of Directors NW Director of the Year Awards.

Now Michael must wait until 30 March to discover if he will be crowned with the overall title at a sparkling awards ceremony at Manchester’s Midland Hotel.

He is the only short-listed candidate in the family business category to hail from Cumbria.

The IoD’s awards, now in their 13th year, celebrate the achievements of the North West’s most inspiring directors, including those at the helm of family businesses.

In Michael’s case, he is the latest generation of his family to take the lead in the Holgates parks group which was started by his grandfather 60 years ago.

Michael took over the running of the company from his father Frank in 2007, and has since continued to expand and develop the business.

The Holgates group now comprises six parks in south Cumbria and North Lancashire, including its 100-acre flagship Silverdale Holiday Park near Arnside.

Michael’s business today provides employment and training for around 135 people – and stimulating jobs, according to the IoD, is an important element in its awards scheme.

The IoD’s regional director Claire Ebrey says that firms such as Holgates are playing a crucial role in creating new career opportunities, especially for younger people.

Michael Holgate said he felt extremely honoured to be nominated for the IoD family company director award, and to be playing a part in Cumbria’s thriving visitor economy:

“Tourism and leisure are important elements in our county’s economic make-up, and also provide many fantastic career prospects,” he said.

“At Holgates we have a large number of staff who are now in senior and management positions, but who started their jobs in trainee roles.

“As members of the Institute of Directors, we have always supported the encouragement they give to firms making a commitment to nurturing tomorrow’s leaders,” said Michael.

There is more information about Silverdale Holiday Park, and the five other Cumbria and North Lancashire parks belonging to the Holgates group, at www.holgates.co.uk

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