Boss offers glamping after Covid shuts down 30-year-old firm
- Credit: Supplied
A 'lifelong' camper is passing on his love of the outdoors by hiring out three bell tents on his pretty Norfolk meadow.
Duncan Smith is opening from July 1 until August 31 a two acre meadow near where he and his wife live in Swannington, offering a new glamping experience.
The launch of the new business comes after Covid made Mr Smith, 61, close down his exhibition stand firm. Mr Smith was a director of GGS in Norwich, hiring and building stands for all kinds of events across the UK.
But when Covid struck, he had to watch his firm collapse. He said: "The last exhibition stand we built was at Crufts in March last year. Some European exhibitors actually surprised us by starting to dismantle their massive stands before the show - the whole Covid thing was just kicking off.
"After this, every single forthcoming exhibition stand design project was cancelled or postponed. By the summer of 2020 everyone in the exhibition industry was becoming aware that there would be no realistic chance of the industry picking up until 2022.
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"Sadly the exhibition industry fell between the cracks of any government help, and my business partner and myself along with advice from accountants made the sad decision to close our business in September 2020 after more than 30 years. All seven staff were made redundant - most of whom are now in new employment."
Mr Smith's new glamping enterprise is situated just outside Reepham. Hengrave Meadow Glamping and Bell Tent Hire offers three fully furnished luxury tents, each with their own private shower/loo within a converted shepherds hut for £110 a night.
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The company also hires out and sets up bell tents at customers' own venues across Norfolk and Suffolk.
He said: "We have been lifelong campers and have passed the love of outdoor life to our two grown up children. My dad Brian said: 'It doesn’t matter if you come out of a five star hotel or a tent, so long as you have slept warmly, are dry and comfortable.'
"We understand what makes a great camping experience and have taken this to the next level with Hengrave Meadow."