A CUMBRIAN holiday park is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Center Parcs Whinfell Forest, near Penrith, was opened by The Rank Group on June 10 1997 as Oasis Lakeland Holiday Village.

Five years later, the site was acquired by Center Parcs UK and became the business’s fourth UK village, operating under the new name of Center Parcs Whinfell Forest.

Over the years, Whinfell Forest has welcomed around 10million guests to the beautiful Cumbrian forest.

Glen Franklin, village director of Center Parcs Whinfell Forest, said: “There is something almost magical about arriving to work in this forest and I am immensely proud of the team here and everything that has been achieved over the last 25 years.

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“The facilities and surroundings are undeniably fantastic, but for me, it is our people who really make the experience and we are over the moon that we have colleagues who have remained with us through this whole journey.

“Whilst today is a great day to look back on our history, I’m also really excited about the future for Whinfell Forest, with an amazing new water ride currently being built and even more investment planned over the next few years.”

Whinfell Forest currently employs more than 1,400 people.

Of those, 217 have been with the company for 10 years, 58 for 20 years and an amazing 12 people have been with the business for the full 25 years.

The team at Whinfell Forest say they are committed to supporting local causes and, as part of a corporate partnership with national charity Together for Short Lives, they have raised more than £150,000 for their local children’s hospice, Jigsaw, since 2016.

In addition, they donate around £3,000 each year to local causes, ranging from primary schools and sports clubs to parish halls and community groups.

Despite the challenges of the last two years, the business has continued to invest in existing facilities, as well as working on new additions for guests.

This financial year, there are plans to invest almost £10million into Whinfell Forest, including a lodge refurbishment programme, electric charging point installation for the car park and a new combined heat and power unit to provide more efficient heating to Aqua Sana Spa.

In addition, this year saw the start of a three-year project to enhance the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, with a brand-new thrilling water ride – Tropical Cyclone – set to open in spring 2023.

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