A MALVERN hotel has been welcoming back the same guest for almost 80 years.
Anne Dunn had her first family holiday at Colwall Park in 1945 when she was just six years old and the country was coming to the end of the Second World War.
The family enjoyed it so much they kept coming back and had fond memories of magical Christmases, times spent with friends in the Edwardian ballroom, horse riding, walks in the Malvern Hills and even meetings with a world-renowned artist.
As a small child, Anne would visit the hotel with her parents and sibling but later on in life, she visited with her husband and introduced him to her ‘home from home’.
After her husband sadly passed away, Anne welcomed her daughter and a new puppy to share her most recent visit to her favourite hotel.
Anne has eight decades of memories to reminisce over, with her most recent visit with her daughter and puppy, Bronte.
To celebrate the link, Anne has shared some of her most favourite memories made at Colwall Park and the reasons she kept returning.
“When we started visiting the hotel in the mid-1940s my father was the hotel’s accountant.
“We used to go for every holiday, from Christmas to Easter and even the summer holidays.
“The family who ran Colwall Park when I first visited had a son who was the same age as me, so I always had a friend to play with when I stayed at the hotel.
“I was too young to fully realise the impact of the war but what I can remember is that the family was always so welcoming and made every visit very special for our family.”
Anne remembers a book-keeper called Miss Mack who worked closely with her father and the old ledgers are even now still kept at the hotel.
“I had a look the last time I visited, and they have them on display. It was a wonderful trip down memory lane.”
Her favourite memories of the hotel all centre around Christmas.
Anne said: “They made the whole hotel beautiful with festive decorations, and in particular, the old ballroom was magical to look at.
“The team used to arrange a Christmas party for the children, where local children and visiting children were all invited.
“One year, for New Year’s Eve, it was my job to look after my little sister, she’s seven years younger than I am.
“My parents had dressed her up as a little fairy and I had to pull her around on a sledge.”
When she was eight years old she met the artist Dame Laura Knight who has a plaque to honour her at the hotel and moved in there after the death of her husband.
“It was Christmas time, and my parents had given me an autograph book, so when I saw Dame Laura, I asked her to sign the book for me.
“She took my autograph book and sat down at the desk in the room and sketched me a picture of a clown with the dipping pen that was on the desk.
“I stood by her and watched her do it, it was wonderful, and I still have the picture framed in my living room today.”
Years later Anne was reading about Dame Laura and wrote to her to remind her how pleased she was with the drawing she received that she still had it years later.
“She wrote back to me saying that she did remember this little girl standing by watching her draw, so that is a very happy memory I hold dear from my time at Colwall Park.”
Anne said another big attraction was, of course, the Malvern Hills and during her latest visit she, her daughter and the puppy went for plenty of walks.
“I think it is wonderful that country hotels like Colwall Park allow guests or visitors to bring their dogs along with them.”
She said the best thing about the hotel was the memories she had visiting as a child and the warm welcome given by the staff.
And what advice would Anne give anyone visiting Colwall Park?
She said: “Make sure you go for lots of walks. The walks are the greatest thing.
“The Malvern Hills are very special, but there are lots of other places of interest in the local area too – like Eastnor Castle, Ledbury or even Malvern itself.”
Anne – the hotel’s longest returning guest – said she had enjoyed every visit to Colwall Park and does not plan to stop her visits anytime soon.
Visit colwall.co.uk or call 01684 540 000 for more on Colwall Park.