IT is a real family affair at the Expanse Hotel in Bridlington.
Currently owned and managed by the third generation of the same family, Neil and Irene Wilks, their daughter Ellie Bennett and her husband Paul have recently returned to Bridlington and will be the fourth generation to run the hotel.
Ellie and Paul, who are both 32, recently had their first child, Olivia, and moved to Bridlington from Leeds in September - just before Olivia was born.
“Obviously the business has a great tradition and is well known in the town, so we are a little nervous but also very excited to be coming back and helping to run the business,” said Ellie, who had worked as a human resources manager at Leeds council.
An advert that appeared in the Free Press back in 1994 had already named Ellie as her parent’s successor - long before the then 16-year-old had made any plans at all.
Ellie said: “At the time I had no idea what I wanted to do, but someone must have known something about it - even back then!
“We are looking forawrd to taking a more active role in the business and enjoying the same success that mum and dad have.”
For Ellie’s dad Neil Wilks, it is an opportunity to take a back seat in running the hotel.
“Both Irene and I love running the hotel as it is a very family orientated business. But we come to a time where we look at our options and begin to think, should we move on?” said Neil.
“Thankfully Ellie and Paul are here to come into the business and find their feet - so they can build the business for the long term.
“Everything has to develop in life and we are delighted to be able to pass our experience on. We are hoping to semi-retire over the next four or five years.”
The hotel, on North Marine Drive, was built in the 1930s by Edmund Cooper Briggs, a builder who became mayor of Bridlington, who was Irene Wilks’ grandfather.