MP opens Cumbria park’s diamond celebrations
South Lakeland MP Tim Farron got the ball rolling on two days of anniversary celebrations at Silverdale Holiday Park near Arnside last weekend (14/15 May).
The business was marking its sixtieth birthday under the ownership of the Holgate family with free activities and entertainment for local families and other visitors.
VIP guest and leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron launched the event by rolling the first official ball the park’s new bowling alley, part of a £1m makeover of its leisure centre.
The 100-acre park, which first began welcoming visitors in 1956, today provides over 500 caravan holiday homes plus touring pitches and luxury timber-built camping pods.
At the special opening reception at Silverdale, business owner Michael Holgate thanked Tim Farron for taking time out to help mark the milestone year for the business.
Addressing the 150-plus guests, including local council officials, tourism chiefs and fellow park owners, Mr Farron said that Silverdale was a business of which Cumbria should be proud.
The MP praised the extensive leisure developments at the park, including its pool, gymnasium and spa, which he said were enjoyed both by holiday guests and members of the local community.
Mr Farron commented that the park’s up-to-the-minute facilities showed how the business had continually innovated over the years to meet modern customer expectations.
But, he added, what really underlines the park’s sustained success is the commitment shown by the Holgate family and its staff to genuinely caring for its customers.
Silverdale’s welcoming and warm-spirited atmosphere had helped to create happy holiday memories for thousands of families over the decades, Mr Farron said.
The weekend’s festivities included a Lakeland beer festival, a bouncy castle, face-painting, a magic show and tractor rides – plus 1950s musical tributes.
On the Sunday, lovers of classic transport were in for a treat when Lakeland Historic Car Club met at the park for a rally featuring veteran two and four-wheel vehicles.
Michael’s business currently comprises six parks in Cumbria and North Lancashire, and employs around 135 people in total. The future, he believes, is very bright:
“Today, perhaps even more than sixty years ago, holidays are valued for the way they allow us to relax and switch-off from the everyday stresses of normal life,” said Michael.
“There’s no better way to do that than in gorgeous natural surroundings, and in the type of friendly, caring atmosphere which we have always tried to make this park’s defining character.
“Despite the millions we have spent on Silverdale over the past decade, guests who review our park on-line often praise these aspects of their stay above all others.
“If that’s what they are still saying when we reach our centenary, I’ll be delighted!” added Michael.
There is more information about Silverdale Holiday Park at www.holgates.co.uk
BUILDING A REPUTATION
The Holgates first came to Silverdale in 1956 from the Blackburn area in Lancashire where Michael’s grandfather, Billy, had started a successful caravan manufacturing business.
The family’s plan was to both carry on the production side of the operation whilst running a holiday park in this scenic part of Cumbria, just over the Lancashire border.
In the event, the park enterprise proved even more commercially buoyant than manufacturing, and after Billy passed away, his son Frank decided to concentrate entirely on developing Silverdale.
On what was formerly just over 100 acres of grass and scrubland, the park as it is today began to take shape with extensive landscaping and the introduction of new facilities.
By the 1970’s an outdoor swimming pool and café had been built, and in 1999 the main building was remodelled to include a new swimming pool, gym, restaurant, bar and shop.
Under Michael’s stewardship, the business has continued to expand and now comprises six parks in Cumbria and North Lancashire, all have which have benefitted from investment in their facilitates.
The aim, he says, is to ensure that the company’s name on every park it owns remains synonymous with first-class surroundings and good value holiday home ownership opportunities.
Silverdale, however, remains the company’s flagship – and prospective buyers of holiday homes are often advised that they must join a waiting list until a unit or plot becomes available.
Like his father Frank, who passed away at the start of 2015, Michael is a firm believer in running his business along sustainable lines and safeguarding the natural environment.
Botanist David Bellamy describes the park as a “glorious wildlife wonderland”, and Silverdale has for many years been the holder of his prestigious Conservation Award at its top gold level.