A dedicated manager at one of the Midlands biggest tourist attractions is celebrating 30 years of service.
Group operations manager Garry Ford is now the longest serving employee at the Waterworld Leisure Resort in Stoke-on-Trent. He joined in 1993, just four years after the popular attraction first opened.
Waterworld’s owner, entrepreneur Mo Chaudry, said Garry was a key part of the business.
He said: “Garry is one of Waterworld’s most integral people and is the beating heart and backbone of the company. We would be lost without him, professionally and personally.
“We owe a lot to Garry and we would like to thank him from the bottom of our hearts for the loyalty, service and love he has shown to the rest of the Waterworld family over those 30 years of service.
“Waterworld really is a family affair – and, in this case, that means Garry’s family! It’s a running joke here that he has worked with most of his own family during his time at Waterworld.
“He still works with his brother-in-law, son-in-law and children here – the park must be in the Ford blood, because one of Garry’s daughters worked in our management team for 23 years.
“Thirty years is an outstanding achievement and it’s a career story you don’t come across every day.”
Mo said Garry started at Waterworld Aqua Park in 1993 when he was approached by then-owners Rank Leisure Group after he was spotted in his scuba diving suit fixing the floor of the pool whilst working as a sub-contractor. He is now responsible for operations at the Waterworld Leisure Resort which also includes four new mega rides, adventure mini golf, M Club spa and fitness and Nurture childcare, as well as a yet-to-be revealed new attraction.
Waterworld welcomes about 400,000 visitors a year, with 12 million enjoying the park in the 30 years since Garry joined.
An indoor and outdoor water adventure park, Waterworld has undergone a £12m investment in recent years, including a new full-service gym with a swimming pool and spa, four mega new rides that form the Tornado Alley, a new state-of-the-art wave pool installed during Covid and a new water treatment system.
Garry said: “Waterworld is a huge part of my life and I’ve loved being part of a success story in Stoke which spans decades. I’ve seen a number of changes over the years and the recent upgrades and investment mean we’ll continue to be one of the top family attractions in the Midlands for decades to come.”
Waterworld was built on part of the Stoke-on-Trent Garden Festival site and has been open since 1989. Waterworld Leisure Resort employs more than 200 people.