Beach lovers will be delighted with the news that Bradley Stoke will welcome back sand, smiles and deckchairs next summer.
Whilst the Willow Brook Centre can’t promise the return of the ‘summer of sunshine’, it will be reinstating its very own beach in the summer of 2019.
Thousands of visitors to the shopping centre relaxed, played and enjoyed the artificial beach that took pride of place in the town square.
Centre manager Andy Wynn said:
“We shipped in around 38 tonnes of sand, as well as dozens of deckchairs and a giant parasol to keep the little ones cool in the scorching weather.”
“It was a huge success and a real focal point for visitors who would stop and spend time in the town square. It was so popular that we knew we’d have to bring it back next summer.”
Hundreds of photos of the beach, and the dozens of suspended umbrellas that hung overhead, were posted online.
More than 1,000 people entered various competitions to win prizes at the Willow Brook Centre, by including the popular hashtag #summeratwillowbrook on social media posts.
“We wanted to encourage people to share their summer of fun with us and a photo competition was a great way to get everyone doing that.”
During the nine weeks of its summer promotion, the Willow Brook Centre saw visitors increase by seven percent, which is impressive as the number of people paying a visit rarely fluctuates to that extent.
Of course, the star of the summer was the Willow Brook Centre’s very own Swallows and Amazons themed Gromit sculpture, which took pride of place helping to raise money for charity.
It was the first time the centre had been involved in the award-winning arts trails from Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children’s Hospital charity which supports sick children, babies and their families.
More than £1,000 was raised in donations and sales for the appeal during Gromit’s stay at Willow Brook.
Andy also worked with schools in the local area to create other fundraising opportunities. He said:
“It’s really important to me and to the centre that, whenever possible, we act as advocates for the community. As such, I worked on a project with St Michael’s CofE School, in Winterbourne, and Wheatfield Primary School, in Bradley Stoke.
“We sponsored a Feathers McGraw sculpture, from the Wallace and Gromit adventures, and I spent a day in each school with students painting the sculptures for the display at the Cribbs Causeway Grand Appeal shop.”
Photos – Top: Beach, deckchairs and flying umbrellas in the town square. Above: Staff at the Willow Brook Centre with their ‘Swallows and Amazons’ Gromit figure.
This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 19). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH (except August), to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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