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Muck in, work hard, have fun

PUBLISHED: 22:29 12 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:01 05 July 2010

"YOU don't know what you are doing for the day until you get here, and that's what I love about it..."

One minute she might be working on the books: the next she's pulling a pint, dancing with a guest or starring in a pantomime.

“YOU don't know what you are doing for the day until you get here, and that's what I love about it...”

One minute she might be working on the books: the next she's pulling a pint, dancing with a guest or starring in a pantomime.

Businesswoman Petrina Simmons has never been scared to muck in, and it is this enthusiastic approach to her job that has seen her take the Corton Coastal Resort from strength to strength.

Trina was born into a holiday village and, after watching her father at work, has spent nearly all of her working life in the hospitality industry.

“My father had pubs and numerous businesses in the area. I got used to the business side of it and then went on to work in caravan parks, going through all of the departments,” she said.

Trina eventually became a deputy general manager at the Wild Duck Holiday Park in Norfolk but, eight years on, decided on a change and joined a recruitment company.

“It was more money, less hours, and weekends, bank holidays and Christmas off. But I hated it,” she said.

She returned to the Wild Duck after just a month away, and then in January 2005 she was invited to become operations manager by Corton Coastal Resort's general manager, Ian Gyte.

“I had the best induction ever here, spending two to three days in each department to get to know the team and understand the job. They were amazed I was on my hands and knees scrubbing,” she said.

It was this hands-on approach that helped to develop Trina's management technique, and in August 2005 she was appointed acting manager, before taking on the job full time in October. Three years later, she manages a team of 140 staff and has never looked back.

“I absolutely love it, even though it's probably one of the hardest jobs I've ever done,” she said. “My work changes from day to day. You can walk past reception and end up helping guests, or if they're busy behind the bar I'll step in - whatever is needed for the guests. It's a hands-on role, and that is what I like about it,” she said.

Trina, 47, involves herself in every aspect of the business, and her husband Karl, 52, and sons Danny, 27, and Tommy, 25, have an active role too.

“Luckily I have an understanding husband. If I've got a few days off we'll visit the other Warner's sites. I like to eat here regularly, watch the in-house shows, and we will have Christmas dinner here,” she said. “My husband is also a judge on Strictly Come Corton, and I will compete with him in Ready Steady Cook.”

Trina oversees every aspect of the business, and her hands-on approach has made her popular with guests and staff alike. Maureen Boughton, head of housekeeping, said: “You couldn't want for a better manager. She's very fair and very approachable any time you need her.”

Corton Coastal Resort is part of the Warner Leisure Hotels and Resorts group. It can host 387 guests when full and sees more than 700 guests in a week.

“It's a lovely place to work, and within a week I fell in love with the atmosphere here,” Trina said. “I couldn't do my job if I didn't enjoy it. It's not just for me but for the guests and staff as well.”

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