Buxton WI members put tourism students through their paces

University of Derby tourism students dress the part on a recent factfinding visit to Lyme Park.
University of Derby tourism students dress the part on a recent factfinding visit to Lyme Park.

When it comes to heritage days out there are few more discerning customers than members of the WI - who else could test the next generation of tourism workers?

Women’s Institute members recently turned examiners for the day to put leisure and tourism students through their paces at the University of Derby’s Buxton campus.

The Buxton WI party enjoyed a three-course meal and a guided tour of the Devonshire Dome, led by student Chris Drews from Whaley Bridge.

The group rated the tour experience as excellent, and former nurse Sandra Sellers, who worked in the Dome when it was the Devonshire Royal Hospital, said: “Even though I worked here, I’ve still learned more than I knew already. It was so interesting.

“You couldn’t imagine there was an operating theatre where the kitchens are now. We used to take patients there.

“When we locked the door behind us in 2000, we were heart-broken. We were all crying. It’s so good to see it being looked after now,” she added.

Chris and 29 of her course colleagues had benefitted from a recent trip to Lyme Park, near Disley, to learn from the National Trust about the skills needed to run a major attraction.

Lecturer Lisa Wakefield said: “It helps them to realise that as a tour guide you’ve really got to create stories to engage with your audience.”

The National Trust is now hoping that some of the students will enhance their understanding and experience by becoming volunteer guides at the park.