While the rest of the country may have ground to a freezing halt, a Rowsley man has been ensuring that for one local hotel at least, it is business as usual despite the arctic conditions.
As the UK shivers and schools and businesses close amid some of the worst snowfall seen for decades, Brian Gammon of multi award-winning East Lodge Hotel and restaurant has been working round the clock to ensure staff and guests remain as safe as possible at the peak of the iciest conditions in recent Peak District history.
As the snow began to fall in earnest last Friday, Brian recognised the danger and took it upon himself to get into work at 4am to begin the task of clearing the driveways and car parks on the 10 acre East Lodge estate. Clearing snow on an estate of this size is no easy task for just one man, but given the unprecedented snowfall, Brian was still hard at work at 11pm on Wednesday evening.
“Thanks to Brian’s hard work, East Lodge has been able to continue operating with a full hotel, despite the terrible weather,” said East Lodge managing director Iain Hardman. “We were able to reassure guests that if they could reach us, we were open - and amazingly we still had 70 for dinner last Saturday. The weather took a turn for the worse again but we remain open, so its fingers crossed that our guests can reach us again this weekend. With Brian on our team, there’s every chance we will remain open as usual.”
While a picturesque location in the heart of the Peak District remains a big selling point for one of the finest country house hotel’s in the country, severe weather conditions like those seen over the last few days can have a significant impact, serving to cut off outlying areas in Britain’s first national park. Yet the work of (often unsung) local heroes like Brian is allowing businesses to continue when they might otherwise be forced to close, leaving guests who have struggled to reach the region marooned.
“The East Lodge estate looks beautiful in the snow but this is a double edged sword, as heavy snow has the potential to impact our business and cause real anxiety for staff and guests alike, added Iain. “Brian’s efforts mean we have never had to turn guests away and indeed, we have been able to offer East Lodge as a safe haven together with a warm Derbyshire welcome for anyone finding themselves stranded in our region during this inclement weather.”
“It’s much easier caring for the East Lodge grounds in the summer than right now,” joked Brian, as he prepared his drift busting equipment for another snow clearing tour of the grounds. “It’s been hard work but we are all a big team here at East Lodge and you get a great feeling of satisfaction in seeing people’s relieved faces when they see the snow and ice cleared. We are hoping we are coming to the end of it now but I’m keeping the grit, shovels and snow plough on standby!”
Together with the logistical problems snow and ice can cause for business, there is also the concern over health and safety, ensuring guests and staff alike are as safe as possible, so while the snow clearance ensures the hotel is reachable, Brian’s motivation is to keep everyone safe.
“While we continue to welcome our gests, the safety of all those who come to us remains paramount,” added Iain. “Brian’s efforts; together with the hard work of the rest of our staff, in getting into work and putting our guests first, is a real credit to them all and something I am really proud of. Their dedication has ensured that guests who reach East Lodge can stay with us in safety, no matter what the weather may throw at us and is one more reason why they won the ‘Outstanding Customer Service’ award again this year.”
Situated in ten acres of its own grounds, East Lodge is the perfect place to relax and unwind in the heart of the Peak District – and thanks to Brian, you can be confident the hotel is open whatever the weather! Owned by the Hardman family and one of the top hotels and restaurants in the UK, East Lodge has a prestigious range of accolades to its name. The coveted AA “Inspectors’ Choice” Award, with three red stars for 2010 places it within the top 150 hotels in the whole of the UK and the hotel’s remains just one of 48 hotels in the country presented with a Visit England Gold Award.