But even the most experienced, ‘nothing-can-phase-me-anymore’ staff at Elveden Forest were wide-eyed when a letter arrived bearing the Royal seal.
With instructions to hand-deliver it to a family in the middle of their break, and even a telephone number to ring to confirm the delivery had taken place, it was all feeling rather James Bond.
Andy Dunn, the Senior Duty Village Manager at Elveden Forest, took control. “We knew nothing about the letter,” he explains. “I just had instructions to deliver it to a certain family at a certain time. So my first task was to track down the family and see what it was all about.”
After checking our activity booking system, Andy tracked the family down to the Pottery Painting Studio, where they were busy painting plates and mugs to commemorate the occasion. There he got the whole story. The Jones family were at Center Parcs to celebrate their grandparents’ diamond (60 years) wedding anniversary. Granddaughter Jessica and the family had organised the surprise anniversary message from the Queen.
Jessica told Andy that they had three generations of family at Elveden Forest for the diamond anniversary celebration, so wanted to give them a very special surprise they’d never forget.
So while the family were celebrating in their Lodge that evening, Andy – armed with the letter from Her Majesty and a bottle of Champagne – knocked on the door to deliver the message. Mr and Mrs Jones were over the moon with their surprise.
Andy said “The Jones family told me that they had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at Sherwood Forest ten years previously, and had such a wonderful time that they wanted to do the same this time but at Elveden Forest.”
Stepping into the role of royal courier was a first for Andy too. “I’ve never been involved in such a special surprise,” he said. “But I really enjoyed going along to the party and celebrating a royal surprise for our guests!”