Picture 1: Our new Gold award!
Picture 2: Kelly and David Wickes from Monkey Haven (centre) at the Beautiful South Awards 2019-20. Presenter Simon Calder is on the far right.
Picture 3: Shiny Happy People at Monkey Haven. Don Walser, Founder of Monkey Haven (far right) with the award-winning team. From left: Antony, Emily, Jordan, Katie, Lisa, Lilymae, Don and Alfie the dog
Picture 4: ‘Team Isle of Wight’ at the Awards. From left: Tom Turney from Tom’s Eco Lodge; Vicky Sitch and colleague from Sibbecks Farm Glamping; Will Myles, MD of Visit Isle of Wight; Kelly Wickes from Monkey Haven; and the team from East Afton Farmhouse
Monkey Haven has struck GOLD in the Beautiful South Awards – and the Keepers are going ape! Our little team has won the top Gold Award in the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year category. It’s the fourth time that we have won this prestigious accolade in the fiercely contested ‘Oscars of Tourism’ (we also got gold in 2016, 2014 and 2011). We will now go through to the national finals.
We were also delighted to be Commended in the ‘Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism’ category – this green gong recognises our eco practices, such as using recycled aircraft tyres to make a soft covering for our play areas.
Kelly Wickes from Monkey Haven attended the Grand Brighton Hotel, where the glamorous Awards ceremony took place last night, hosted by travel broadcaster Simon Calder. “We’re so proud and what a way to kick off our 10th anniversary celebrations – they don’t officially begin until 2020 but the party has started already!” says Kelly, who oversees all the Marketing for our charity (and is the daughter of our Founder, Don Walser).
Together with her husband, David Wickes, they accepted a massive crystal trophy on behalf of our primate rescue centre. “This special award is for all our Keepers and volunteers and it’s a tribute to all their hard work, passion and dedication”, says Kelly. “Plus it’s for everyone who’s supported us over the years, in so many ways, from donating fruit and veg for the monkeys, to visiting us and helping to make this a happy, award-winning animal sanctuary. Together we’re rescuing creatures in crisis and having a lot of fun along the way. Thank you everyone!”
Congratulations to the other Island businesses who also won awards – ‘Team Isle of Wight’ will be bringing home two more Golds (for Tom’s Eco Lodge and Hovertravel), two silver awards, three bronze awards, and another commendation.
Will Myles, MD of Visit Isle of Wight, who represented the Island at the event, commented: “It’s an amazing thing that we’ve done, an amazing thing that the businesses have done and it’s an amazing thing that the Isle of Wight has done. Well done to absolutely everyone involved.”