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BALPPA Excellence Awards 2018 – winners revealed


The British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions (BALPPA) staged its second Excellence Awards at Drayton Manor on Monday, November 26. Ahead of an evening awards ceremony at the park’s on-site hotel, BALPPA members could also enjoy a mini trade show and seminar programme.

BALPPA’s Tracey Bancroft, Paul Kelly, Lisa Wheatley and Jeanette Dawson

Building on the success of the inaugural event in 2017, this year’s get-together was bigger and better. There were more categories and more Excellence Awards winners. The trade show saw more exhibitors. Meanwhile the event succeeded in assisting existing operators and also those looking to enter the market to connect with key suppliers and industry experts.

After a great day of networking and education, more than 200 people attended the Excellence Awards ceremony. Winners were chosen in seven categories from nominations by both BALPPA members and non-members. Following a drinks reception, entertainment from Miss Penny and a sumptuous three-course dinner, BALPPA chief executive Paul Kelly took control of the proceedings.

The team from Blackpool’s Sandcastle Water Park, winner of the Inclusivity Award, pictured with cabaret artist Miss Penny

“We were pleased that so many businesses chose to exhibit at the event and that many reported a successful show,” says Kelly. “The feedback from visitors was also extremely positive. We hope that we helped to cement some strong relationships between suppliers and operators.”

As a result of the Excellence Awards, BALPPA’s chosen charity for the occasion Autism Puzzles will benefit to the tune of £1,200.

Enjoying their evening were Helen Pawley (Drayton Manor), Jeroen Nijpels (JNELC), John Collins (past BALPPA/IAAPA chairman), Stine Thompson (Blackpool Pleasure Beach), Marshall Hill (Funland Hayling Island and past BALPPA chairman)

BALPPA Excellence Awards winners 2018 were as follows:

Food & Beverage Award

  • Gold: Head Over Heels
  • Silver: Safari MK
  • Bronze: Hobbledown

Attraction under 12,000 sq ft

  • Gold: Head Over Heels
  • Silver: The Bubble Factory
  • Bronze: Mega Fun – Jack In a Box

Attraction over 12,000 sq ft

  • Gold: Safari MK
  • Silver: Kidspace Romford
  • Bronze: Riverside Hub

Employee of Excellence

  • Gold: Jen Brennan, Safari MK
  • Silver: Ceili Hatchett, DJs Play Park
  • Bronze: Jordan Sharp, Partyman

Supplier of the Year

  • Gold: Craftis
  • Silver: Teddy Mountain
  • Bronze: Regency Purchasing Group

Ones to Watch (non-BALPPA member)

  • Gold: Otterspool Park
  • Silver: The Jungle
  • Bronze: Out of Bounds

Digital Communication

  • Gold: Colchester Group
  • Silver: Blackpool Pleasure Beach
  • Bronze: Drayton Manor Park


  • Gold: Jungle Heights, Robin Hill
  • Silver: Electric Woods, Robin Hill
  • Bronze: Riverside Hub


  • Gold: Sandcastle Water Park

Early Years Healthy Futures

  • Gold: Little Bugs, Web Adventure Park
  • Silver: Childcare Hub, Kidsplay

Images courtesy Fujifilm

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Owen Ralph

Owen Ralph

As a Lead Features Writer for blooloop, Owen brings with him two decades of experience covering the amusement and attractions industry for trade publications, including World’s Fair, Coinslot International, Kirmes & Park Revue and Park World, where he spent 15 years as Editor. He is currently a member of the IAAPA EMEA Education Subcommittee.

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