ELBA 2019: Finalists in Focus

September 11, 2019

As the East Lindsey Business Awards evening edges ever closer, we're taking another look at more of this year's finalists.

This week it's the turn of ARK Wildlife Park, Walled Garden Baumber and Skegness Natureland Seal Sanctuary, who are all hoping to scoop the Visitor Attraction of the Year Award.

A unique attraction for Lincolnshire and the UK, ARK Wildlife Park is an 'animal-based attraction with a difference' - primarily operating as a rescue sanctuary for exotic animals from the UK and European pet trade. The Stickney-based business has gone from strength to strength since opening in 2016 and the last year has seen a number of exciting expansions, including the UK's first primate island! The ARK Team will be hoping to cap it all off by taking home this year's Visitor Attraction of the Year Award: "The whole team at the Ark are thrilled to be finalists, as this is fantastic recognition of everyone's hard work over the last three years making a rescue zoo for ex-exotic pets become a reality, the dedication of the staff and volunteers has been second to none, and without this dedication the Ark would never have been able to help as many animals over these last few years as we have - and this nomination is for them and their continued support with the animals and enthusiasm to put smiles on the faces of our visitors."

Walled Garden Baumber is now in its fourth season and though owner's Sonia and David Elton will admit it started somewhat accidentally, opening the nineteenth century walled garden up to the public after having spent years renovating it for their family, it hasn't held the business back from growing into a real up and coming visitor attraction. Along with the scenic, historical garden, visitors can take advantage of the onsite tearoom which offers locally-produced, homemade goods and is situated in the Garden's former potting shed. A spokesperson for the Walled Garden said: ''We are delighted to think that we have renovated a space that was once a derelict garden, into something that has been shortlisted as a possible Visitor Attraction of the Year. To be considered for this award makes all the years of hard work worthwhile. To win this award would be recognition of what has been achieved, by a small dedicated team who have made The Walled Garden Baumber into a thriving small business in Lincolnshire.''

Skegness Natureland Seal Sanctuary is mainstay of the Lincolnshire coast, having been trading for over 50 years and now being managed by the third generation of the Yeadon Family. Though it's primarily a seal sanctuary - dedicated to treating and returning seals to their natural habitat - the business has grown in to much more over the years. Visitors can see a variety of different animals, with Natureland now home to penguins, butterflies, reptiles, goats and much more. The business's longevity and positive attitude to developing the attraction are just some of the reasons they're finalists this year. A spokesperson for Natureland said: "It is a privilege to be a finalist in this category with so many other worthy attractions. It just shows what East Lindsey has to offer and that it remains as a fantastic, traditional family holiday destination. To be recognised for the work that we do with the rescued seal pups at Natureland makes us all very proud. Not only that, but for providing our visitors with a fun and educational day out too. We have a passion for animals and to be able to share it with the public is just the icing on the cake."

Winners for all Awards will be announced at the Awards evening on 27th September at the Petwood Hotel, Woodhall Spa. Tickets for the event are available to purchase from: www.lincs-chamber.co.uk/Event/east-lindsey-business-awards-2019.

Businesses wishing to sponsor the Awards can still get involved and more information on sponsorship packages can be found at: www.e-lindsey.gov.uk/ELBASponsorship.