Walby Farm Park in Cumbria scooped three top National Farm Attractions Network (NFAN) awards: Best Food & Beverage, Customer Service Excellence and the top award, the Jim Keetch Farm Attraction of the Year.
The awards are part of the annual NFAN conference which gathers over 150 farm and rural attraction delegates from around the UK and celebrates the best in farm parks and countryside attractions.
Neil Milbourn, owner of Walby Farm Park, said he was delighted to receive the awards: “To win not one but three awards is amazing! This is a great achievement and recognises our team’s hard work and commitment to ‘Team Walby’. We are continually looking to improve Walby Farm Park and add to our visitors’ experience. The quality and entertainment value of farm attractions throughout the UK improves year on year, to reach this standard is an amazing thing when you know how high the standard is now!”
The Keynote Speech was given by Ian Pigott, founder of Open Farm Sunday. He shared his insights regarding the national farm open day which he launched back in 2006 and has since welcomed more than 1.4 million people onto farms in the UK. Ian chairs the charity FACE (farming and countryside education). He has also helped develop several industry initiatives including BrightCrop, a farming and food supply initiative and The Farmschool, an on-farm classroom and cooking experience.
Matt Heast, Chairman of the NFAN, said he was delighted to have Piggott as their Keynote Speaker. “The 2015 Conference is such an important event for the industry. It as an opportunity to meet and network with fellow operators, learn from a packed speaker programme and meet the key suppliers at the industry trade show, all under one roof.”
Other winners included Cannon Hall Farm in Yorkshire who scooped Best Innovation, Old Macdonald’s Farm in Essex who bagged Best in Education and Digitickets won the Best Trade Supplier award.
Barry Davies of Davies & Co. was given the Lifetime Achievement Award. “Barry has been instrumental over the past nearly 20 years in nurturing and growing the National Farm Attractions Network to be the successful membership organisation it is today, ” remarked Heast.
Founded in 1996 by pioneering Jim Keetch, a farm park owner in Weldon, Northants, NFAN is the only independent co-operative for farm and rural attractions. It promotes best practice and knowledge sharing, updates members on the latest HSE advice and represents the farm attraction industry at government meetings. The network has over 250 members in the UK.
Image: Walby Farm Park team receive the Farm Attraction of the Year award plaque