A member of Gulliver’s Valley management team has gone over and above to keep work going on the new resort during the coronavirus lockdown.
Ross Partridge, the park’s guest experience and entertainment manager, has been living full time on the theme park site, carrying out a range of tasks including gardening and general maintenance and even getting some of the animatronic dinosaurs in place.
Ross, who is originally from Scunthorpe, said: “I was so pleased to be offered the position here at Gulliver’s Valley earlier this year as it really is my dream role. I’d been in Warrington at the Gulliver’s World site but was keen to be back closer to my loved ones and also, I just felt the opportunities this park would bring for my career were too good to miss out on. I moved over at the beginning of March and the plan was to stay in a caravan on site for a short period while I looked for somewhere nearby to live. I’d visited a couple of flats but then it all came to a sudden stop.
“When the lockdown hit, thankfully my managers offered me the chance to extend my living arrangement and keep working. I was really pleased because I love my job and working in the entertainment industry is all I’ve done since I was 16 so I’d be lost without it. I also felt it was important to be able to do what I can to help make sure the park is ready for whenever we get the green light to open.
“As guest experience and entertainment manager I make sure that our visitors have the best day out or short break from the moment they park their car to when they leave. I also design all the special events and tours we have such as theme weekends as well as being responsible for the shows and entertainment team – the jazz hands element of the job!
“During this time, I’ve still been able to do the planning for these aspects but I’ve also been busy on a number of tasks I’m not so familiar with. I’ve become a gardener, maintenance man, cleaner and decorator. I’ve helped get the fantastic animatronic dinosaurs working, as well as stocking our accommodation units and taking deliveries. I’ve certainly been busy.”
Ross has worked for Gulliver’s Theme Park Resorts, a family company, for over six years – firstly as a seasonal worker at Gulliver’s Kingdom at Matlock Bath before being promoted to full-time team leader and then entertainments manager.
He moved to Warrington in 2016 after an opportunity came up for a similar role at Gulliver’s World, which was then the biggest Gulliver’s park and he wanted a new challenge with more responsibility. But with the Gulliver’s Valley development on the horizon, the lure of moving back over the Pennines became too strong with the desire to develop his career further as well as be closer to his family and friends in South Yorkshire.
Dave Brown, general manager of Gulliver’s Valley, said: “One of the best things about Gulliver’s is the family ethos that runs throughout the company and all our staff are a major part of that. Ross is a great example of someone who has worked his way up with us over the years but has really gone over and above during what has been a challenging time for everyone. Despite not being able to undertake many of the entertainment duties he is used to, he has certainly been our star of the show as we continue to do what we can during the lockdown period to get the park ready for when it is safe to open. I live nearby so have been in close contact with him throughout this time and more recently, I’ve been working with him on site, socially distanced of course. We are very grateful to him for his dedication and hard work.”
Added Ross: “Living in the caravan has been a bit lonely but Dave and some of the construction team have also been here in more recent weeks and I have been part of a wider team who have been very supportive. The weather has been good which has helped but it’s been hard not seeing my friends and family when they are so close. I’ve got to admit I am looking forward to getting my own place and not living and working in the same place 24/7, but I’m more excited about visiting a barber and getting my beard trimmed!
“Our excitement for Gulliver’s Valley has not diminished. Of course, it is a shame we couldn’t open on our original launch date but we are here and ready to provide much needed family fun as soon as we can. When we went into lockdown the park was so close to being ready so I’m proud to have played a small part in getting those final touches completed and to see the difference over the last 10 weeks has been incredible. I can’t wait to welcome our guests and see the park up and running for all to enjoy as soon as we are able to.”
Gulliver’s recently postponed the park’s opening due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and a new date will be announced in due course.
For further information about Gulliver’s Valley, visit www.gulliversvalleyresort.co.uk