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Focus EmbElton Hall


The Secret Gardener


Trevor Thorne is the driving force behind the beautiful Embleton Hall. Nicolle Thompson spoke to him about the ethos behind the Hall, famous guests and his love of gardening.


T


revor Thorne has been at the helm of Embleton Hall since taking ownership of it in 1986. In all those years he has seen a lot of changes. So we chatted to him about the man behind the business, what Embleton


Hall means to him and, of course, the World Cup.


Trevor, how did you come to be in the hotel business? After university I worked for the Bank of England in London for 10 years, mainly in the overseas department. As well as my regular banking duties I was also responsible for looking after foreign visitors, which I greatly enjoyed. I would make sure they had an enjoyable visit to London but also showed them a little corner of rural England.


What made you decide to buy Embleton Hall? I was actually born in Longframlington, with Embleton Hall in view from our farm. The building came up for sale and I decided to buy it with my wife and turn Embleton Hall into a country house hotel - they were incredibly popular at the time. I was married in 1983 and we thought it would be nice to move to the country and bring up a family there. It was like coming home.


How has it been? We have had our ups and downs but we’ve been here for 24 years now and I am still very much enjoying it. The hotel business has changed over the years - we do more conferences and weddings than ever before. We have our own niche in the market - with 13 bedrooms we provide quite an intimate experience in a grand


setting. There is the old manor house and extensive out-buildings as well as 5 acres of landscaped gardens and woodland. We have a grass tennis court and a ha-ha. We also have a family farm on the edge of the village and you can see Embleton Hall from there. The farm supplied us with dairy produce for many years.


What has been your high point? There have been various points, but one of the nicest was being named Which magazine’s Best Small Hotel in Northumberland.


Have you had any famous guests? We’ve had Brian Rix and Dr. Miriam Stoppard staying here as well as the wildlife artist David Shepherd, Barbara Dickson and Twiggy.


What’s your favourite part of doing what you do? I love looking after people - giving them a nice time is what we are all about here. We want people to experience staying in a lovely old house and giving them nice food and looking after them - giving them a really special visit.


What would you say to anybody who has never been to Embleton Hall? It is a unique experience. Come and relax, we are here to look after you and pamper you.


What do you like to do in your free time Trevor? I’m quite a keen gardener and spend a lot of time in our walled garden at Embleton Hall. We grow our own vegetables and potatoes for the hotel as well as some fruit - we have peach trees and a grape vine. We also


grow beetroot, cauliflower, many other vegetables, and sweet peas. My other love is politics. I’m a unitary councillor for this area and my main passions are education and planning. I’m chairman of the central committee, which keeps me very busy - it keeps my grey cells ticking over. I’m also involved as a regional representative for the London Olympics, making sure the whole of the country feels involved in what is going on.


If you could go anywhere in the world on holiday, where would it be any why? Because I spend such a lot of time in the hotel, summer holidays are very important to my family. We have 2 boys who still like to come away with us. We like to go somewhere hot to enjoy the weather and the sea. We’ve been to some wonderful places - Mauritius, Canada, Mexico and Thailand - but the


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