Saturday, December 12, 2009

Last weekend - the 2009 Awards!

As we enter the last weekend of the Palace season, it is appropriate to look back on a busy year and to reflect upon the highlights - and challenges - through the year.

A summary of the 2009 Awards follows:

The Newcomer of the Year Award
Awarded to the amazing Annual Pass Scheme that has blown us all away during 2009. We are currently at around 95,000 members since this was launched back in February - a fantastic achievement and a very positive relaunch of our local profile - we hope everyone will re-connect with us and with an Annual Pass in 2010.

The "bounce-back" Award
Goes this year to the International Horse Trials held in September which "bounced back" from a washed-out event in 2008 - 4 days of fine weather delivered a very successful horse trials from everyone's point of view.

The "Little and Large" Location Award
Goes to 2oth Century Fox and their filming of Gulliver's Travels here at Blenheim Palace. Jack Black will star as Gulliver when this film launches Christmas 2010 but the real star will be Blenheim Palace - we enjoyed having them with us and we will enjoy being portayed as the Lilliputian Palace - home to Billy Connolly (King) and Catherine Tate (Queen)

The Umbrella Award
Is shared between a very wet Triathlon in June and the whole month of November - which was apparently over 200% up on the 27 year average for rainfall! The Triathlon was a phenomenal success despite the weather - but we hope for slightly better weather in 2010.

The "Wish you were here" Award
Goes to the "Festival for Heroes" event which tried to stage a concert in June to raise monies for the Royal British Legion but which failed to sell enough tickets and which ended up being cancelled - a great shame as it would have been a great day and it would have helped a very worthwhile cause. Maybe they will try again?

The "don't mention The Caravan Club" Award
Goes to The Camping and Caravanning Club who held their annual "Feast of Lanterns" rally at Blenheim Palace in August - a very well organised event and a great pleasure for us to host them this year.

The "could have done better" Award
Goes to Lancelot "Capability" Brown for not building the crest of the Blenheim Dam slightly higher (in the 1760's) so as to ensure compliance with the Reservoirs Act 1975! But he does get many commendations for the excellence of everything else he achieved!

The Environment Agency Award
Goes to all internal and external staff who worked on the restoration work surrounding the Blenheim Dam - a well organised and a well delivered project that has secured the future stability of the Dam for many future decades. Well done to Roger File, Chris Keeler and everyone at Bentleys.

The "cool dude" Award
Goes to Sean - the Bentley's Site Manager on the Dam Project - totally unflappable - and now on his annual sojourn in the Caribbean

The Bravery Awards
Tony White's wife and family, Paul Duffie, Veronica Thorneloe, the Frost Family - our thoughts and prayers are with them all as they remember loved ones at Christmas

The PR Award
Goes to David Cameron - our local MP - for quickly involving the Chinese Ambassador in a tree planting ceremony here at Blenheim last month and quickly naming the tree as the "Chinese Friendship Tree" - inspired thinking and we look forward to many visiting groups for China to see the tree as it grows!

The list could go on - but it has been a very memorable year where much has been achieved. We started the year not quite knowing what would happen but a combination of the "staycation" factor alongside the strength of the annual pass offer has delivered some fantastic results.

This has stretched our resources at times and it has certainty stretched our staff resources (and their patience!) through a long season - a huge thankyou to all of our staff for their huge input in delivering such high levels of customer service excellence throughout the year.

And so the Palace closes on Sunday evening and we then have two months to deep clean every nook and cranny - to both pass and satisfy any Ducal inspection - before we open again on Saturday 13 February 2010!

And so the cycle continues ...........

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