Thursday, 11 February 2016

South Copeland tourism leaders to quit their jobs

MILLOM’S £400,000 tourist economy will continue to thrive, despite the loss of two key players, says a tourism director.

MOVING ON: Mark Holroyd, right, tourism development officer for South Copeland, launching the first Beer ’n’ Bangers festival in 2010 with Gary Patton of Patton’s family butchers in Millom. Inset, Wendy Bracegirdle who is also stepping down from her role as chairwoman of South Copeland Tourism

South Copeland Tourism’s development officer, Mark Holroyd, is leaving his post next month, while the group’s chairwoman, Wendy Bracegirdle,is also stepping down at the end of January.

Mr Holroyd was instrumental in introducing several successful festivals to the Millom area, including Beer ’n’ Bangers, in 2010, and the Western Lake District Kitefest and the Black Combe Walking Festival in 2011 – all of which will continue this year.

Company directors say tourism initiatives in South Copeland will continue to grow, in spite of the tourism boss’ departure.

Ray Cole, a director of South Copeland Tourism, said: “It’s business as normal.

“Mark is moving to pastures new and we wish him well in that. It’s an exciting opportunity for him, but we’re extremely sorry to see him go.

“From our perspective, steps are already being taken to keep moving forwards and not go backwards.

“The group will function just the same and, in time, we’ll be looking for his replacement.

“We’ve got a strong group of directors, with bags of enthusiasm, and I’m very confident it’ll be business as usual.”

Funding is available for the group to appoint an interim tourism development officer.

And talks are at an “advanced stage” for further funding, which would allow the project to continue past its original three-year programme.

Mr Holroyd, from Kirkby, is taking up a new role with the New Forest National Park Authority, in Hampshire.

But he believes South Copeland still has plenty of visitor attraction potential.

The 24-year-old said: “I have really enjoyed my time working to develop tourism in Millom and South Copeland over the past few years.

“This area has so much potential to be a successful visitor destination and to have been involved in realising some of this has been a pleasure.

“I am extremely grateful to the directors of South Copeland Tourism for their support and leadership and to all the volunteers who have got involved in our activities.

“I am confident the organisation can continue to achieve great things for the Millom area over the coming years.”

The departing Wendy Bracegirdle praised Mr Holroyd’s contribution to tourism in Millom.

She said: “Mark has done an outstanding job. He has made a huge contribution to the development of tourism in this area.

“His work has brought economic benefits to the whole of South Copeland.

“We are very sorry to say good bye to him and we wish him very well in his new appointment.”

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