Zoo is named as ‘Overall Business of the Year’ 2012

The Drusillas Park Team at the Business Matters Awards.

The Drusillas Park Team at the Business Matters Awards.

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DRUSILLAS Zoo has scooped one of the top accolades at the 2012 Sussex Business Matters Awards, celebrating outstanding businesses throughout the county.

At the ceremony Drusillas Park was named, ‘Overall Business of the Year’.

This prestigious accolade is bestowed on the organisation that most impressed the judges for doing the best by their clients, staff and the community.

The zoo was also ‘Highly Commended’ in the Hospitality Tourism and Leisure Category. Organisations in this grouping were judged on their ability to demonstrate exceptional industry success, innovation, strong growth and market leadership.

Managing Directors Laurence and Christine Smith collected the awards from Meridian Tonight presenter and the host of the evening, Fred Dinenage.

Mr Smith said: “In these tough economic times, which have been hindered by the unusually wet weather, it is great to bring this award home for our team.

“We are delighted that our hard work and dedication has been recognised by the judges and will continue to ensure that Drusillas Park remains an exceptional visitor attraction.”

Laurence and Christine Smith acquired the zoo in 1997 and have invested heavily in Drusillas, securing a deal with HIT Entertainment to bring Thomas the Tank Engine to the Park and introducing new animals and attractions.

This award is the latest in a line of accolades achieved by Drusillas.

In 2010/11 Drusillas won Tourism South East’s ‘Visitor Attraction of the Year’ award and received accolades for ‘Business of the Year’ and ‘Best Customer Service’ at the Sussex Business Awards in 2009/10.

Drusillas Park has been a family run business as far back as 1922.

The late Captain Ann bought a derelict farm and 20 acres of land and opened the cottage to sell teas to passing motorists. He named the tea rooms after his first wife Drusilla, adding attractions and animals to help boost trade. 

Drusillas remained in the Ann family until 1997 when it was bought by the Smiths.