When a hotel guest suffered a heart attack, Rosie Wallace, managing director of the Marsham Court Hotel in Bournemouth, leapt into action and gave him life-saving CPR. She has since been named the town's ‘Unsung Hero of 2017' by the Bournemouth Tourism Management Board. Katherine Price chats to her about the work she does for her guests and her community.
How important is it for hoteliers to know CPR?
CPR is a must for my managers, who all do a three-day course and a paediatric first aid course. Our guest, Lew Bell, is fine after his heart attack. I'm just glad he was with us when it happened and I was able to help stabilise him until the paramedics arrived. Performing CPR is frightening, but knowing you have helped save someone's life is amazing. Lew came back to the hotel a year after his heart attack for his 86th birthday, and I still keep in contact with him and his wife, Margaret. We exchange Christmas cards every year but, sadly, it is a bit too far for them to travel to Bournemouth these days.
Tell us about the Bournemouth Hotel Watch that you're involved with.
We've also heard about the hotel's involvement with Hospitality and Leisure Opportunities (HALO), a scheme to get more young people involved in hospitality. Why do you think more young people don't get involved?
HALO seeks to clear up some of the misconceptions about the industry and promote the opportunities hospitality offers. I think people assume that jobs in hospitality are not paid well, and that has put young people off. The students need to be shown the different opportunities - it's not just about becoming a chef. We invite professionals to come to the hotel and run the event almost as if it were speed dating. You also don't need to be academic to be able to succeed, as personality is just as important. There are certain standards you need, depending on the job, but common sense is the most important thing and getting that message across is paramount.
And I've heard you are involved in a lot of charity work?
We have just held a masquerade ball in aid of Cancer Research UK. I have also spent a day in a wheelchair for Macmillan Caring Locally, I went down the pier zip wire with some of my staff in aid of Steps, and I did a fire walk in aid of Bournemouth Leukaemia Fund. And recently I walked 10k in the Twilight Walk for the Bournemouth Hospital Charity.
What is it you love about the industry?
It's a family business, so I was born into it. I have lived in a hotel all my life and it just becomes second nature. However, you don't get an easy ride just because your parents own the hotel, and I was always told that I had to work twice as hard as everyone else to prove myself, but that has helped me become the determined person I am today.
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