Dorset Pet Loving Park
Tracey Daffern (left) and her husband Paul (centre) with the park team at Shamba Holidays in the New Forest
Thursday, 07, Mar 2019 02:41
By William Coleman
One of Dorset's most pet-friendly touring parks, Shamba Holidays in the New Forest, has welcomed new managers on board who really know how to put pooches on a pedestal.
That's because husband and wife team Graham and Tracey Daffern are also the proud owners a springer spaniel which will help them sniff out dog-friendly activities in the area.
Five-year-old Poppy will be taking the lead in discovering new Fido-friendly walks and nearby attractions which welcome dogs on behalf of the park's thousands of annual visitors.
Graham (58) and Tracey (47) took up their new roles at Shamba in February this year, and will now be in day-to-day charge of the multi-award winning park near Ringwood.
The couple have been involved in park management for over five years after quitting their successful jobs in the vending industry to follow their dream of a career in the outdoors.
Keen caravan and motorhome fans, the pair lived for 17 years on a canal boat in Coventry before taking up various positions on parks throughout the country.
Now living at Shamba Holidays, they believe they have at last found the perfect location thanks to the park's idyllic surroundings and endless opportunities to enjoy their love of walking.
Park owner Andrew Gray arranged a getting-to-know-you party for Graham and Tracey earlier this month when they got to meet the other staff they will be working alongside.
Open all year round, the long-established seven acre park has been in Andrew's family for over 20 years. It was started by his uncle Tim, and then taken on by his parents Martin and Anne.
Over that time, the has family has invested much time and energy into creating a first-class setting for touring guests, including a 40-foot swimming pool with a retractable roof.
There's also a modern clubhouse with professional entertainment in season, and a year-round activities for all ages - plus a bar, café-restaurant, shop, and relaxation areas.
The family's reward has been to see a year-on-year rise in visitor numbers from Britain and overseas, plus a series of awards for its quality standards and environmental care.
Shamba is also a member of the Best of British group, a consortium of independent parks providing some of the UK's best-managed surroundings and highest levels of hospitality.
Andrew said he was delighted to welcome Graham and Tracey on board, and says that news of their dog-friendly findings will be posted on the park's website.
But although the couple can boast perfect canine credentials, they also admit to having a soft spot for Britain's other four-legged friends - and in particular their cat Sox.
However, now in her twentieth year, Sox is quite content to let Poppy work out the best walkies while she welcomes guests to her purr-fect park home.
There is more information about the park at www.shambaholidays.co.uk