Why Center Parcs is the centre of my family memories

Her family photo was seen by thousands of you, now super-guest Teresa Weekley shares her stories from years gone by If you’re a Center Parcs Facebook fan, you may have been one of the 2,714 people that ‘liked’ the photo, right, that Teresa Weekely posted of her children and their cousins while visiting Elveden Forest, […]

Her family photo was seen by thousands of you, now super-guest Teresa Weekley shares her stories from years gone by

TimelineIf you’re a Center Parcs Facebook fan, you may have been one of the 2,714 people that ‘liked’ the photo, right, that Teresa Weekely posted of her children and their cousins while visiting Elveden Forest, to celebrate her parents’ Diamond Wedding Anniversary.

They say a picture tells a thousand words – or rather 800, in the case of this post – so I got in touch with Teresa to find out more about the Center Parcs breaks her family have enjoyed since first visiting 22 years ago.

Family time
Teresa says: “We first went to Elveden in 1992 with my parents, Jean and Roy, and our daughter Lilli who was just 6 months old. We loved it so much that the following year we returned with my brother Colin and his wife Tracy, with their baby boy Robin. As our families grew, we continued to go each year and we would always try to get a group photo of the children as they got older. This year we decided to re-enact that shot from all those years ago.”

“At one point my sister, Ann-Marie, was living near Manchester with her two children, Amy and Matthew. My brother lived in Gloucestershire with his two children, Robin and Jenny. All of us meeting up at Center Parcs with my Mum, Dad and my three children Lilli, Bobby and Max was brilliant. It was a central place that we could all go to and everyone was so excited to see each other.”

Lilli on her first visit to Elveden Foret
Lilli on her first visit to Elveden Foret

“We loved Center Parcs straight away. We went when we’d just had a baby and everything was set up perfectly for families and staff were great. Everything runs smoothly at Center Parcs; everything we want to do, we can do.”

Peace of mind
And even as their children turned from babies into toddlers and teens, Teresa and her family have always had peace of mind. She says: “When the kids were younger we knew they would be safe wherever they were; in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise there was someone watching them all the time. If they wanted to have a quick bike ride around, someone was always there to help.”

“Every year the kids still all want to go, which is nice because of their age”

Center Parcs has been the setting for a number of milestones not only in Teresa life, but the rest of her family’s too. She says: “We’ve had many birthdays and celebrations there including my dad’s 80th, my brother’s 50th and my daughter Lilli’s 18th and 21st.

kids and grandparents
Jean and Roy, centre, with their grandchildren

“This year was very special for us all. It was my parent’s Diamond Wedding Anniversary and all they wanted to do was go to Center Parcs. We had a party for their special day on the Thursday with Champagne, a cake that I had made, cards, balloons, banners, a large collage of photographs of their 60 married years together and the card they received from the Queen. We had a photographer take some lovely pictures of us all by the lake. We are trying to choose one to go onto a canvas for us to cherish our happy times together.”

The children pose together in one of their first group shots
The children pose together in one of their first group shots
Winter Wonderland
But after the sweetness of cake and bubbles of Champagne, what has been the most memorable moment at Center Parcs for Teresa and her family? “That’s easy,” she says. “One year we planned a Christmas break to the Winter Wonderland. It was manic, packing all the presents, decorations and food; it was a good job my husband had a van! The icing on the cake for this break was that it snowed – and not just a little bit. It had been forecast so I had brought the children’s sledges along, oh what fun they had. It was the perfect Christmas for us all together, just absolutely fantastic.”

“This year was very special for us all. It was my parent’s Diamond Wedding Anniversary and all they wanted to do was go to Center Parcs”

So, is Teresa confident the tradition that has brought her family so much joy and created so many memories will continue? “I do. The way my children talk about going tells me they will; they get excited about going and seeing each other. It’s important to catch up now they have jobs and lives of their own.

“And that’s so important. When you’re at Center Parcs it feels like time is nothing, you can be there with thousands of other people but it just feels like you’re on your own with your family. It’s a safe haven to escape to – and we’ve loved every minute of it.”

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Amy Dickson

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Amy Dickson

As Brand Content Manager I plan, create and curate the best articles, photos, videos and music for our channels, in particular the blog. With a degree in Journalism under my belt and many years’ experience in the big smoke as a journalist and editor, my focus is firmly on discovering the little gems hidden away in Center Parcs life, before buffing them up to make them sparkle online. From on-village events to the latest travel industry trends, I’ll be there – notepad in hand – to bring you the most entertaining and interesting stories.