Burnley may have seemed an unlikely setting for a flagship hotel to be built from the ground up.
But the vision of hotel developer and owner Paul Callingham, who owns London based Starboard Hotels, was to prove inspirational when he chose Burnley for his latest project.
That vision for a globally recognised, branded hotel in East Lancashire came true and Burnley's Holiday Inn Express has reached its 10th anniversary with a celebration hosted by Paul and the hotel's General Manager Steve Walmsley.
The hotel was the first to be built and opened by Starboard Hotels, and Paul explained to guests how the company now has over 20 properties in its portfolio across the UK.
He said: “Burnley will always be very close to my heart.
“It was the first hotel we opened and built from scratch, in fact this was during the recession. It continues to be a successful hotel and to be very much part of the wider Burnley community."
The special evening of music, entertainment and Lancashire themed hospitality laid on for over 70 guests, including the Mayor of Burnley Coun. Charlie Briggs, proved to be a fitting showcase for the hotel’s significant birthday.
The Holiday Inn Express has a long-standing reputation for working closely with the community on
a host of projects, often resulting in young people beginning their careers in the hospitality sector.
To mark the hotel anniversary and endorsing its continuing support of groups and charities in the
area, the hotel made a surprise donation during the evening to Burnley Youth Theatre’s Raise the
Paul presented a cheque for £1,000 to the Youth Theatre Artistic Director Karen Metcalfe, before the theatre’s young performers entertained guests with a brand new special revue called Brilliant Burnley, a play showcasing the rising, positive position of Burnley in the UK over the last decade.
Steve also announced a new initiative, partnering Burnley Youth Theatre for a year of fund raising.
He said: “We are really delighted to be announcing our special partnership with Burnley Youth Theatre.
"When we heard of their difficulties following a devastating flood during the summer, we wanted to help and came up with a project that not only introduces the theatre to the hotel but allows them to show their artistic skills.
"It seemed only fitting to have a cast from the youth theatre create a special revue for the hotel's 10th anniversary, telling the story of Burnley.”
Karen Metcalfe who is Burnley Youth Theatre's artistic director described the donation to the fund as "amazing" saying: "The Holiday Inn Express has really helped to kick start this campaign.
"Our rep group absolutely loved the opportunity to perform at the anniversary event, it has been an incredible experience for them to create and then perform a brand new piece and we are delighted to be entering into a partnership with the hotel as their chosen local charity of the year."
During the party, visitors enjoyed tasty Lancashire themed food prepared by local chef Steve
Peel including Fleetwood fish pie and mini Lancashire hot pots and musical entertainment came
from professional quartet Graffiti Classic.