Judy Potter of Potters Leisure Resort

PUBLISHED: 10:25 09 March 2010 | UPDATED: 01:17 06 February 2013

Judy and daugther, Jane in the restaurant at Potters Leisure Resort.

Judy and daugther, Jane in the restaurant at Potters Leisure Resort.

Nothing makes Judy Potter prouder, after a lifetime in the holiday business, than her continued role at Potters Leisure Resort alongside her family.

A family affair

Nothing makes Judy Potter prouder, after a lifetime in the holiday business, than her continued role at Potters Leisure Resort alongside her family. As the resort prepares once again to host the World Indoor Bowls Championships, Abigail Saltmarsh met her.

As Judy Potter makes her way through the luxury leisure resort that bears her familys name, guests and members of staff alike smile, wave and wander over to say hello.
With up to 700 guests at any one time and an empire that includes five star accommodation, top quality sports and entertainment facilities, a restaurant, health spa and now a conference centre, it is almost as if Judy is a member of the Hopton resorts very own Royal family.
Yet even if she remains very much at the helm of the operation alongside her husband Brian and children John and Jane Judy likes nothing better than to stop and chat. Potters has always been about friendly holidays in a welcoming environment and therefore pausing for a cup of coffee with a guest is simply part of the job.
It was when we really began to grow that I realised I had to come out of the office, says Judy, a director of the company. When I first came here, people used to ring up and I was one of the people who answered the phones.
Today we have a call centre of 24 and I think its much more important for me to get out and about, to stop and talk to people, so they really feel the family is still around.
In recent decades the current generations of the Potter family have grown the resort beyond all recognition. As other holiday centres have floundered and failed, Potters has seen expansion and development. Even in the past recession-hit year it has grown by 10pc.
The family puts this down to their early realisation that evolution was necessary, which meant a move into year-round holidays as well as major sporting and entertainment events.
This month, for example, sees the World Indoor Bowls Championships hosted at Potters Leisure Resort for the sixth year running, and 2010 will also see appearances from the likes of Ken Dodd, Billy Ocean and Ray Quinn.
With the creation of the indoor bowls areas we were able to attract people who wanted to play midweek, all year round, Judy explains. We have also developed all the other sides of Potters to be able to offer themed and entertainment breaks. We even have our own theatre company.
Potters today is nothing like the place I came to work in back in 1964.
Today, in fact, Potters is the only privately owned holiday resort of its type in Britain. It is also the only one to have a five star rating.
The business has been in the family since it was first established back in 1920 by Herbert Potter, Brians grandfather, who, upon returning from the first world war, found himself the winner of a newspaper anagram competition.
He was given a cheque for 500, which was an awful lot in those days. With it, he built a holiday camp with timber huts at Hemsby, says Judy.
Although the camp moved from this site to Hopton in 1936, it was the original Hemsby location that can probably be credited with bringing Judy into the Potter family.
My parents ran the Seacroft holiday camp in those days, and they were very friendly with Brians parents. We were babies in prams in the offices at the
same time.
Our families used to go on holiday together out of season, but we hated each other then. They had to put one of us in the front of the car and one in the back because we would fight all the time! she remembers.
But Judy went off to finishing school in Switzerland and, upon her return, she and Brian fell in love. In 1964 they were married and Judy came to work at Potters. They then had their son and daughter, John and Jane.
Today, John is managing director of Potters and Jane, a company director and trained cosmetic enhancement specialist, oversees the resorts health spa and beauty studio. She has also recently launched new conference and events centre Zest.
With stunning sea views and incorporating the Black Rock Grill, this highly contemporary addition to Potters has already been booked for numerous weddings and corporate events throughout 2010, says Jane.
Zest was a nine month project from conception, she explains. It is very 21st century and very different from anything we have ever done before at Potters. I am fortunate to have a family who were confident about what I could achieve with it, and so just let me get on with it.
What I would like to do next is to open a flagship health spa for Norfolk right here. We have the infrastructure in place to do so and I think it would add to the diversity of what we have here.
Diversity is certainly what Potters remains all about. Keen not only to be associated with its bowls holidays, the resorts 400-odd staff run weekend
breaks focused on anything from keep
fit and outward bound activities through to health and relaxation, and black
tie events.
Judy says: We have a marvellous team here of fantastic staff who all work together and are known for their friendliness. We couldnt do any of this without them.
The World Indoor Bowls Championships are to be held in the main arena at Potters from January 5 to 25. Last years event saw the sale of 25,000 tickets, with visitors turning up from right across the country to watch.
John and Brian procured the World Championships for Potters and it has been very successful, says Judy, who oversees many of the bowls events and is known for the charity fundraiser where guests at the championships have to guess the colour of her jacket before they enter. The whole event is televised and has really put Norfolk on the map.
But when the bright lights have been turned off, the seating stands removed and thecameras taken on to the next sporting event, Judy is still there, quietly remaining in one of the driving seats at Potters, doing what she does best.
I love being here with my family. It is an absolute delight to me that both John and Jane decided to be involved too, she says.
That is what Potters is all about making friends, greeting the guests and being together as a family.

For more information on holidays and events at Potters Leisure Resort, or to book tickets for the World Indoor Bowls Championships 2010, call 0845 437 9890 or visit www.pottersholidays.com
For more information on Zest call 0845 437 9896 or email events@pottersholidays.com

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