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ONE of Britain’s most loved attractions, Drayton Manor Park, has officially signed the Armed Forces Covenant.

By doing so, Drayton Manor has now promised the nation that those who serve or have served, along with their families, are treated fairly.
The covenant, which was co-signed by Drayton Manor Park’s Company Director, George Bryan, and Colonel Richard Maybery, supports serving personnel, reservists, Cadet Force adult volunteers, service leavers and veterans.

Colonel Richard Maybery QGM, Deputy Commander at 11th Signal and West Midlands Brigade, said: “I was delighted to sign the Armed Forces Covenant with Drayton Manor Park. The attraction is committed to supporting reservists and Cadet Force adult volunteers as well as employing veterans.

“In addition, it offers all armed forces personnel a really great deal. I very much look forward to working with the park to our mutual benefit over the next several years.”

Drayton Manor Park’s Company Director, George Bryan, and Colonel Richard Maybery, signing the Armed Forces Covenant

Drayton Manor Park’s Company Director, George Bryan, and Colonel Richard Maybery, signing the Armed Forces Covenant

George Bryan added: “It was an honour to sign the covenant and officially announce our partnership with the Armed Forces. Here at Drayton Manor Park we are so grateful to everyone who has fought for our country, which is why we offer free entry to both serving and non-serving members of the military”.

If your organisation would like to find out more about the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme or how the Armed Forces Covenant could benefit your business please contact Siamha Butt, Regional Employer Engagement Director at the West Midland Reserve Forces & Cadets Association on [email protected] or 0121 427 5221 ext. 242.

For more information about Drayton Manor Park, or to book tickets, please visit www.draytonmanor.co.uk .

Staffordshire Attractions

AS the UK enjoys a record 40 million overseas visitors to the country this year, Staffordshire’s tourism sector is also set to benefit from the boost.

Tourist promotion agency VisitBritain forecasts overseas trips to the UK will increase 6% to 39.7 million with spending up 14% to £25.7bn this year.

In Staffordshire, the sector is already worth over £1 billion annually with around 25 million people enjoying day or overnight trips proving that the county remains a popular destination.

Staffordshire has many great attractions, including many leading national sites.  For adrenalin seekers and families the county has two world-class theme parks in the Alton Towers Resort and Drayton Manor Park, as well as Tamworth’s SnowDome and Waterworld.

Staffordshire is also home to the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, the national football centre at St George’s Park and the National Brewery Centre both in Burton upon Trent, as well as a wealth of smaller museums and attractions.

Mark Winnington, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth at Staffordshire County Council and Deputy Chair of Destination Staffordshire said:

“The record numbers of overseas visitors to the UK we’re seeing this year is not only great news for the country but also wonderful for our own tourism economy.

“We’re a great county to visit with a thriving tourism sector and lots on offer.  Our local tourism businesses continue to do a great job, innovating, attracting more and more visitors, bringing in over £100m a month for the local economy and sustaining tens of thousands of jobs.”

Staffordshire also has many historic houses and sites to visit like Lichfield Cathedral, the Shugborough Estate, Tamworth Castle, the Ancient High House and Weston Park.  And, the county is also a great place for the outdoors, from the Peak District National Park in the north to Chasewater and Cannock Chase AONB in the south and the National Forest in the east, not to mention hundreds of miles of footpaths, cycleways and a canal network amongst the largest of shire counties.

The Trentham Estate is now the UK’s 4th largest paid-for garden attraction and the award-winning adjacent Monkey Forest is the only place in Britain where visitors can walk through the enclosure where the monkeys roam freely.  World of Wedgwood in Barliston opened its doors in 2015 with a new visitor centre and Museum giving people even more reasons to visit Staffordshire.

People can find out more about what Staffordshire has to offer this autumn at www.enjoystaffordshire.com/whats-on

Drayton Manor Park fireworks over lake

ONE lucky competition winner will start Drayton Manor Park’s science fiction themed fireworks display, Sky-Fi Fireworks Spectacular, A Galactic Gathering, on Friday 27th October.

The attraction is giving you the chance to be the one with the all the power and the VIP who gets to start its annual fireworks spectacular.

As the sun sets over the famous Drayton Manor Park lake, the park will close its 2017 season, and you could be the one who kick-starts the weekend!

This wonderful prize includes free entry into the park for a family of four* for the whole day and evening on Friday 27th October, the exclusive opportunity to start Drayton Manor Park’s Fireworks Spectacular, a Thomas & Friends goody bag per child and a delicious hog roast roll for each family member all included in the prize. The competition runs until Thursday 19th October.

Sparks will fly from 7pm on each of the three days (last admission is 6pm), and many rides will remain open until 9pm, so the thrills can continue into the evening. Europe’s first stand-up rollercoaster, Shockwave, the head turning gyro swing Maelstrom and the 54m drop-tower Apocalypse, will be amongst those open until late.

For the younger visitors, there is Europe’s only Thomas Land™, home to over 25 rides and attractions based on the ever-popular Thomas & Friends™ series, including newest addition, James and the Red Balloon. Thomas Land is the perfect destination for families to enjoy a day out before heading to the main event.

Drayton Manor Park’s Sky -Fi Fireworks Spectacular, A Galactic Gathering runs on Friday 27th, Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th October.  For more information, terms and conditions, and to be in with a chance to win, visit www.draytonmanor.co.uk/ultimate-fireworks-competition.

*Winner is included in the family of four ticket.

To book tickets, or for more information about the park, visit www.draytonmanor.co.uk

Drayton Manor Park at Christmas

SERVING and retired members of the British Armed Forces can enjoy FREE* entry to Drayton’s Magical Christmas on selected dates from Saturday 18 th November**.

Over the past ten years, Drayton Manor Park has given more than half a million visitors 280 days of Magical Christmas memories, including 159,600 Father Christmas meet and greets and endless magical moments. This year, the festive celebration is set to be more magical than ever before as the park celebrates a decade of fantastic festive fun.

Running on selected dates throughout the Christmas period, families can dig out their favourite woolly hat and gloves and immerse themselves in the ultimate magical experience.

Visitors of all ages are invited to delight as Europe’s only Thomas Land™ once again becomes the ultimate winter wonderland, with guaranteed snow showers up to three times a day. Not to mention sparkling decorations, live shows and magical festive music, sure to get all the family feeling very merry!

In celebration of ten years of Magical Christmas, Drayton Manor Park will be serving up fantastic festive delights. With sweet treats for everyone including candy canes, mince pies and Christmas cake, and delicious mulled wine sure to warm mum and dad up on even the chilliest of days.

Of course, no Christmas would be complete without meeting the main man himself and little ones can do just that as they enter the enchanted Castle of Dreams where they’ll be greeted by playful helpers before meeting Father Christmas in his Grotto. With Christmas being the time for giving, each child will receive a gift and a Golden Ticket to return for the new season in 2018***.

The magical makeover continues throughout the park, with an enchanting 30 foot Christmas tree taking centre stage and playing festive music to a magical lightshow throughout the day.

Those looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the park can visit the 15-acre Zoo, home to over 750 animals of 130 different species from all over the world. Visitors can meet cute reindeer and enjoy live talks and feeds from our Zoo Keeping team throughout the day.

Each day of Magical Christmas will end in style thanks to a dazzling fireworks display that the whole family is sure to love and will even get the biggest scrooge in the festive spirit!

Those looking to turn their festive day out into a magical trip can enjoy a relaxing stay at the 4 Star Drayton Manor Hotel. Set in the grounds of the park, the 150 room hotel has a selection of packages available over the Christmas period including Thomas & Friends themed rooms with Thomas goody bag and Character Breakfast****. For more information, please visit, www.draytonmanorhotel.co.uk .

Accepted IDs include a valid Military Personal Card, a MOD Card, Band of Brothers Card or Defence Privilege Card (only for serving or ex-serving members of the armed forces) or an Armed Forces Discount Card for serving personnel. Veterans can also show a Band of Brothers Card or Defence Privilege Card or a Leaving Certificate, Proof of War Pension or Armed Forces Compensation Card.

To book tickets, or for more information about the park, visit www.draytonmanor.co.uk or call 0844 472 1950. Reduced prices are available for tickets bought in advance. For regular updates and news about Drayton Manor Park join it on Twitter www.twitter.com/Draytonmanor and Facebook www.facebook.com/DraytonManorPark .

*Park entry only, does not include a meeting with Father Christmas. This can be booked separately at an extra price.
**Drayton’s Magical Christmas will be open on Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th November, Friday 24th – Monday 27th November, Friday 1st December – Monday 4th December, Friday 8th – Monday 11th December, Friday 15th – Saturday 23rd December, Sunday 24th December and Wednesday 27th – Sunday 31st December.
***Golden Ticket terms and conditions. The Golden Ticket admits one free child during the 2018 season when accompanied by a paying adult.
****All rooms and packages are subject to availability. The armed forces discount is not available on hotel room bookings.

Ride to the wall 2017

THOUSANDS of motorcycle enthusiasts from the UK and overseas took part in annual charity event Ride to the Wall last weekend on Saturday 7 October.

Riders and passengers gathered at the memorial (the wall) at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, which is engraved with the names of more than 16,000 service men and women killed since the end of the Second World War.

This years event was the 10th anniversary of Ride to the Wall as the first event took place in 2008 as the brain child of Martin Dickinson.

In 2007, Martin attended the remembrance day event at the National Memorial Arboretum and noticed that there was a lot of children and young people there. This reminded him that although Remembrance Day is often traditionally linked to the World Wars, there was a lot of people that had lost their lives and left families behind since the end of these wars.  Including in the Northern Ireland conflicts, in which Martin had served.

For the first event in 2008, Martin asked for 200 bikers to take part in the event – 1800 showed up and as a result £10,000 was raised. The 2016 event, which took place in horrific weather and torrential rain attracted 7,300 bikes.

In June this year, Ride to the Wall presented a cheque for £121,200, which brings their total prior to this event to a staggering £633,000!

Ride to the Wall was founded on the principles of Remembrance and Respect and the income from the event goes to the running and upkeep of the National Memorial Arboretum.

Here you can see Martin Dickinson talking to one of our reporters, Edna Hills:

The majority of the motorcyclists taking part in the event met at Drayton Manor Park and rode to the Arboretum in Convoy.  There are however a number of meeting points for riders from around the Country.

Here you can see the ride out from Drayton Manor Park; can you spot yourself?

Below you can also see our reporter, Edna, chatting to Various attendees of this years event in a set of exclusive interviews for Tamworth Informed.

POPULAR family attraction, Drayton Manor Park, played host to The National Autistic Society on Thursday 27th July to help raise awareness for people living within the spectrum, with an exclusive ‘quiet hour’ in Thomas Land.

The Staffordshire-based theme park has chosen The National Autistic Society to become a valued charity partner in 2017 and is dedicated to working with and learning from the charity.  As part of its commitment, Drayton Manor Park held a training day for the Thomas Land™ Team ahead of the charity’s ‘day on the park’.

The day began with families taking part in a quiet hour, the first of its kind at a theme park in the UK. Thomas Land was then opened to the public from 10.30am where visitors were invited to learn all about the charity and take part in a virtual experience demonstrating how overwhelming an everyday scenario, such as a family day out, can be to an autistic person.

Drayton Manor Park, Company Director, George Bryan said: “We recognise that a little thought and understanding can make a huge difference to our guests’ experience and through our partnership with The National Autistic Society, we hope our team’s deeper awareness of the needs of the autistic community will ensure everyone has a truly unforgettable experience this summer.”

More than 1 in 100 people are on the autistic spectrum, including an estimated 700,000 people in the UK. Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and their interaction with others. The National Autistic Society is the UK’s leading charity for people on the autism spectrum and their families.

To find out more about autism or the NAS, visit www.autism.org.uk.

For more information and to book tickets to the park, visit www.draytonmanor.co.uk or call 0844 472 1950.

Drayton Manor Park, Summer Scones

NOTHING says British summertime more than a traditional Afternoon Tea in the English countryside, and perhaps a Pimms or two on the lawn!

Families visiting Drayton Manor Park this summer are invited to sit back, relax and unwind in the picturesque setting of the Staffordshire countryside and enjoy a generous serving of delicious Afternoon Tea.

Set in 286 acres of beautiful woodland there is so much for all ages to see and do at Drayton Manor Park. Park and Zoo guests, and those just looking for a very special treat can enjoy a very British summertime delight of a traditional Afternoon Tea in the family friendly 4 Star hotel.

Everyone is invited to rest and refuel in Drayton Manor Park Hotel’s brand new Garden room and sun terrace, with its spectacular views perfect for children to explore.  Take time out to sink into the sumptuous setting and indulge in a locally sourced and homemade Afternoon Tea.

Served daily between 12pm and 4pm, choose from a selection of finger sandwiches, a homemade fruit scone with clotted cream and jam, plus an assortment of delicious cakes.

For those who prefer a more savoury option they can enjoy a pot of tea or coffee, a selection of finger sandwiches, locally sourced pork pie and pickles, a homemade sausage and black pudding scotch egg, plus a scrumptious board of cheese and biscuits.

Prices start from £15 per adult and £7.50 per child. Those looking for an extra special treat can upgrade with a glass of Prosecco or Pimms for just £5 per adult.

To book please email [email protected] or call 01827 285551. For more information about the park, visitwww.draytonmanor.co.uk.

 

Drayton Manor Park Child Board - Tamworth Informed

AFTER launching a nationwide search, Drayton Manor Park has this week held its first board meeting for its new directors – and they’re all aged between five and nine years old!

The final seven have successfully talked their way to the top, winning the public and the existing board of director members over with their witty personalities and brilliant ideas for the future of the park.

They each submitted a short 60 second video explaining their favourite thing about Drayton Manor, the three things they’d introduce to the park and how their friends and family would describe them.

Applicants were encouraged to share it through social media with friends and family to vote for their favourite candidate and the videos with the highest number of votes were whittled down to the final seven by a selected panel of Drayton Manor Park employees.

Dressed in their best formal attire, ready for a day at the office, the new recruits headed down to the park for their first ever board meeting. The day began with a brainstorm session; headed up by current Company Director, George Bryan. Complete with lots of colouring pencils, cookies and juice, it was an opportunity to come up with new ideas on how best to enhance the park for young visitors.

Child board members enjoy their first day on the job at Drayton Manor

Child board members enjoy their first day on the job at Drayton Manor

Following refreshments and a light lunch, the board headed out for some corporate team building activities in the park, including exploring the 15 acre Zoo and the thrills and spills of the rides and Europe’s only Thomas Land™. They also took the chance to speak to the ride team leaders to understand what goes on during an average day at the family owned theme park!

Joining the board from Birmingham is Haydar Aslanturk age six, George Hayward age six, Jesse Douglas age nine and Reeyahs Daania age six. Isabelle Lillie Grimes age seven, joins from Lichfield. Zane Taylor age five and Jayden Lorenzo Neal age five, join from Tamworth.

Commenting on the new appointments, George Bryan said: “We’re really proud to welcome our new members of the board; they’re a great asset to the team here and their knowledge of what kids want is invaluable. They’ve all got some great ideas on how to make the theme park extra special and we’re really looking forward to working with them!”.

Jayden Lorenzo Neal and Isabelle Lillie Grimes at Drayton Manor Park

Jayden Lorenzo Neal and Isabelle Lillie Grimes at Drayton Manor Park

Each board member has received a season pass meaning they can visit the attraction as often as they like during 2016 and take advantage of discounts and vouchers. They also get their very own Drayton Manor name badge and friends and family passes to the park.

To book tickets, or for more information about the park, visit www.draytonmanor.co.uk or call 0844 472 1950. Reduced prices are available for tickets bought in advance. For regular updates and news about Drayton Manor Park join it on Twitter www.twitter.com/Draytonmanor and Facebook www.facebook.com/DraytonManorPark

Keith 'Beefy' Whiteout and other employees in front of the original The Haunting in 1996

TWENTY years after it first launched to bloodcurdling screams from visitors, Drayton Manor Park has unveiled a new and improved version of The Haunting.

Since 1996, The Haunting has scared visitors young and old, who love exploring the intriguing world of the paranormal. The newly renovated and enhanced attraction will take visitors on a tour of their senses; seeing, smelling, feeling, hearing and even brushing up against slimy and revolting things with its spine-chilling interactive activities.

The Haunting is based on the legend of an old vicarage located on the Drayton Manor estate where the sudden passing of the vicar led to a series of strange circumstances and unexplainable events.

In the previous iteration of The Haunting, visitors were invited into the spooky vicarage in order to locate people who had gone missing. The new story takes places 20 years later, where after two decades of neglect and abandonment, a company known as Research into Paranormal Activity (RIPA) was called in to resolve the mystery once and for all.

RIPA, a group made up of young scientists at the forefront of metaphysical research, proceeded to set up a series of experiments at the vicarage. After weeks of investigating and analysing test results, they realised that almost everyone entering the vicarage was experiencing different sightings, symptoms and feelings.

Keith 'Beefy' Whiteout and other employees in front of the original The Haunting in 1996

Keith ‘Beefy’ Whiteout and other employees in front of the original The Haunting in 1996

Upon entering The Haunting, members of the public become volunteers of RIPA’s experiment and will be asked to report their findings at the end of the experience. This will provide RIPA with valuable data for its research.

The Haunting’s refresh is aimed at keeping up with the times and appealing to a new generation of visitors. To this end, Drayton Manor Park has also invested in better special effects and technology in order to scare even the bravest of souls.

“We are excited to mark the 20th anniversary of The Haunting with an upgrade and a facelift. The newly enhanced attraction will offer courageous visitors a completely immersive and collaborative experience. This will no doubt address the desires of today’s theme park and haunted house aficionados who want to be a part of the thrill-generating process,” said William Bryan, Managing Director of Drayton Manor Park.

Keith 'Beefy' Whitefoot in front of the new and improved The Haunting in 2016

Keith ‘Beefy’ Whitefoot in front of the new and improved The Haunting in 2016

“As someone who has been here since it opened its doors to the public, I am honoured and excited to be a part of the launch of the bigger and better The Haunting. I really hope that The Haunting will continue to create scary yet wonderful memories for current and future generation of visitors to Drayton Manor Park,” said Keith ‘Beefy’ Whitefoot, Ride Manager and long-time employee of the park.

The 2016 season runs until 28th October. For further information about Drayton Manor Park or to pre-book discounted entry tickets visit www.draytonmanor.co.uk or call 0844 472 1950.

Drayton Manor Park Rides

DRAYTON Manor Park is celebrating after winning the award for ‘Best Visitor Attraction, Staffordshire’ in the What’s On Readers’ Awards 2016, beating fierce competition to take this coveted title.

Launched this year, the What’s On Readers’ Awards incorporates six What’s On titles including, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire and each winner was voted for by the public.

The family owned and run park is home to a whole host of rides and attractions. From white-knuckle thrill rides such as Maelstrom, Apocalypse and G-force to a 15-acre zoo and of course, not forgetting Europe’s only Thomas Land™, which underwent a £2.5 million expansion last year and is now home to new rides such as Flynn the Fire Engine and Captain’s Sea Adventure.

Colin Bryan, CEO at Drayton Manor Park said: “We’re so pleased to have won this fantastic award and we just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who voted for us.  The team here work very hard to ensure families have an enjoyable day out at the park and we’re proud to be recognised in this way.”

Drayton Manor’s 2016 season runs from Saturday 12th March until Friday 28th October.

To book tickets, or for more information about the park, visit www.draytonmanor.co.uk or call 0844 472 1950. Reduced prices are available for tickets bought in advance. For regular updates and news about Drayton Manor Theme Park join it on Twitter www.twitter.com/Draytonmanor and Facebookwww.facebook.com/DraytonManorPark

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